free speech


Definition of free speech 

: speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution also : the right to such speech an unconstitutional restraint on free speech Nat'l Law Jour.

Examples of free speech in a Sentence

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And in this city that patiently waits out traffic jams caused by protests, residents wondered how free speech had turned so violent. Washington Post, "Violent protests again draw attention to Portland, Oregon," 10 June 2018 Finally, there is a serious free speech problem with the owners’ rule. Benjamin Sachs, Vox, "The NFL’s “take a knee” ban is flatly illegal," 25 May 2018 Without respectful discourse, free speech isn’t much more than a hostile shouting match. Blake D. Morant, The Atlantic, "In Praise of Civility," 24 May 2018 Eli’s entry, focusing on U.S. Supreme Court cases that paved the way for student free speech in schools, was one of 150 honored by the cable television public affairs channel, which received 2,985 middle- and high-school student contest submissions. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "First Amendment comes to life at Long Reach High School," 16 May 2018 Roggensack and Ann Walsh Bradley honed in on how free speech may be different for private vs. public institutions. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette University professor case before high court may be case of private vs. public," 19 Apr. 2018 Humans rights groups have argued that these kinds of policies infringe on free speech rights. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "The Trump Administration's New Immigration Polices Target Pregnant Immigrants and Social Media Users," 30 Mar. 2018 At issue legally was the question of whether or not a public employee has a free speech right to withhold union dues that are deducted from his or her paycheck while still receiving the benefits for which that union has bargained. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "The Future of Unions May Depend on a Guy Who Thinks Corporations Are People," 26 Feb. 2018 Robert Shibley, a lawyer with a free speech watchdog group, says the IRS invocation is a fig leaf for administrators who want to ban political speech. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "The Battle Against ‘Hate Speech’ on College Campuses Gives Rise to a Generation That Hates Speech," 26 May 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'free speech.' 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 free speech

1765, in the meaning defined above

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27 Oct 2018

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The first known use of free speech was in 1765

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free speech


Legal Definition of free speech 

1 : speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution setting off an alarm bell is not free speech— A. M. Dershowitz

2 : freedom of speech an unconstitutional restraint on free speechNational Law Journal

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