fighting words

noun plural
fight·​ing words

Legal Definition of fighting words

: words which by their very utterance are likely to inflict harm on or provoke a breach of the peace by the average person to whom they are directed

Note: Fighting words are not protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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Dictionary Entries Near fighting words

fifth degree

fighting words

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Cite this Entry

“Fighting words.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/fighting%20words. Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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