fourth estate

noun, often capitalized F&E

Definition of fourth estate

  1. :  the public press

fourth estate was our Word of the Day on 10/02/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of fourth estate in a sentence

  1. a member of the Fourth Estate

Did You Know?

It might be news to you that the term fourth estate has been around for centuries. In Europe, going back to medieval times, the people who participated in the political life of a country were generally divided into three classes or estates. In England they were the three groups with representation in Parliament, namely, the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. Some other group, like the mob or the public press, that had an unofficial but often great influence on public affairs, was called the fourth estate. In the 19th century, fourth estate came to refer exclusively to the press, and now it's applied to all branches of the news media.

1837

First Known Use of fourth estate

1837


FOURTH ESTATE Defined for English Language Learners

fourth estate

noun, often capitalized F&E

Definition of fourth estate for English Language Learners

  • : the people and organizations who report the news : journalists as a group

Learn More about fourth estate


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