free speech

noun

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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This news comes from Axios, who had SurveyMonkey ask 3,622 adults if social media does more to help or hurt democracy and free speech. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Everything in the museum is rated G and PG, with the exception of a basement suite called The Blue Room, which tackles edgier topics like censorship, taboo, and free speech. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Condé Nast Traveler, "The National Comedy Center Is an Unlikely Attraction That's Putting Western New York Back on the Map," 13 Sep. 2018 The book — a mix of journalism, essays and academic research — is a sociological, historical tome that looks at democracy and art in postcolonial Guyana through the lens of identity and free speech during Guyana’s 2015 election year. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "How does one respond to racist, xenophobic populism? Art plays a part, says Natalie Hopkinson.," 25 Apr. 2018 Coulter, like her ideological opposite, the late William Kunstler, is obsessed with protecting civil liberties and free speech. Elinor Burkett, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kellyanne Conway Has Been Quietly Revolutionizing D.C. Since the Late '90s," 3 Feb. 2017 Our constitution values multiculturalism, free speech, and religious identity. Prachi Gupta, Cosmopolitan, "Donald Trump Tries to Scare the Sh*t Out of the American People," 1 Sep. 2016 The high court found that the fees violate workers' First Amendment rights to free speech. chicagotribune.com, "Rauner: State will stop withholding union fees from nonmembers; workers will be 'given an opportunity to modify their union status'," 27 June 2018 The United States and other traditional allies had excoriated the Polish government over the law, passed in February, condemning it as largely unenforceable, a threat to free speech, and an act of historical revisionism. Marc Santora, New York Times, "Poland’s Holocaust Law Weakened After ‘Storm and Consternation’," 27 June 2018 The case was heard by the Colorado Court of Appeals, which said that Phillips’ right to free speech was not violated because both sides, the baker and the couple, hadn’t discussed the cake before Phillips said no. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Supreme Court decision on wedding cake case: Things to know," 5 June 2018

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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Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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The first known use of free speech was in 1765

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More Definitions for free speech

free speech

noun

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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