civil rights

plural noun

Definition of civil rights

: the nonpolitical rights of a citizen especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress was charged with violating the victim's civil rights

Examples of civil rights in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The amendment has been in the works in Congress since the 1920s and picked up steam during the civil rights era. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "House passes resolution that would dissolve Equal Rights Amendment deadline," 13 Feb. 2020 At the end of her book, Peggy Wallace Kennedy describes crossing over the Edmond Pettus Bridge with civil rights icon John Lewis, hand in hand. Beth Thames |, al, "Daughter’s book gives insight into ‘growing up Wallace’," 12 Feb. 2020 The group complained to Homeland Security’s office of civil rights, according to court papers, and a month later, the agency retaliated again, by ending the hotline in all but eight locations in Florida., "Federal judge orders ICE to reinstate national immigration hotline for reporting problems," 12 Feb. 2020 Wilson and Kelling were open about the fact that civil rights violations and targeting of the vulnerable was a likely outcome of implementing their theory. Victor Ray, Washington Post, "Mike Bloomberg ignored early evidence that ‘stop-and-frisk’ could be racially biased," 12 Feb. 2020 Her parents, in a lawsuit against the University of Utah, said the school violated the civil rights law by not investigating more than 20 reports of their daughter’s abuse, which were brought to the attention of at least six staff members. New York Times, "New Campus Sexual Misconduct Rules Will Tackle Dating Violence," 10 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg's statement fearing citizens being asked to choose between supporting civil rights for minorities or supporting police was criticized by many, including South Bend Common Council members, at the time. Cory Havens, Indianapolis Star, "The CIA, abused dogs and 'Breathe Easy': Buttigieg draws his share of rumors, conspiracies," 10 Feb. 2020 Both sides were accused of war crimes during the subsequent struggle for power, with reports of the Sandinistas massacring civilians and routinely violating the civil rights of Nicaraguans. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Bernie Sanders once compared himself favorably to Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega," 8 Feb. 2020 Lisa Jordan, director of the clinic, co-wrote the civil rights petition to the EPA on behalf of Convent residents two decades ago. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "How Louisiana Lawmakers Stop Residents’ Efforts to Fight Big Oil and Gas," 7 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civil rights.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civil rights

circa 1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for civil rights

see civil

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The first known use of civil rights was circa 1614

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Civil rights.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for civil rights

civil rights


English Language Learners Definition of civil rights

: the rights that every person should have regardless of his or her sex, race, or religion

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