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civil liberty

noun, Usually, civil liberties
the freedom of a citizen to exercise customary rights, as of speech or assembly, without unwarranted or arbitrary interference by the government.
such a right as guaranteed by the laws of a country, as in the U.S. by the Bill of Rights.
Origin of civil liberty
First recorded in 1635-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for civil liberties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You've heard how civil liberties were suspended during the old wars.

    This Crowded Earth Robert Bloch
  • We might suffer all these disasters and our civil liberties would yet be safe.

  • Caius Julius, you say, deflowered the virgin purity of her civil liberties.

    The Caesars Thomas de Quincey
  • The concessions asked were not a broad application of civil liberties.

    Cuba, Old and New Albert Gardner Robinson
  • Yes—if he couldn't get him, he wanted a lawyer supplied by the civil liberties Union.

    Warren Commission (7 of 26): Hearings Vol. VII (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
British Dictionary definitions for civil liberties

civil liberty

the right of an individual to certain freedoms of speech and action
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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civil liberties in Culture

civil liberties definition

In general, the rights to freedom of thought, expression, and action, and the protection of these rights from government interference or restriction. Civil liberties are the hallmark of liberal, democratic “free” societies. In the United States, the Bill of Rights guarantees a variety of civil liberties, most notably freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, expressed in the First Amendment. (See civil rights.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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