fourth estate

noun, often capitalized F&E
Updated on: 22 Nov 2017

Definition of fourth estate

: the public press

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Examples of fourth estate in a Sentence

  1. a member of the Fourth Estate

Recent Examples of fourth estate from the Web

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

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.

First Known Use of fourth estate

1837


FOURTH ESTATE Defined for English Language Learners

fourth estate

noun

Definition of fourth estate for English Language Learners

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


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