- 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
- the right of an individual to certain freedoms of speech and action
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 also First Amendment). (See civil rights.)