fighting words

fighting words
fight·ing words n pl: 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
◇ Fighting words are not protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

fighting words
Words that in and of themselves cause injury or could provoke a violent response from listeners; fighting words are not protected under the First Amendment, and uttering them can constitute the tort of assault.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

fighting words
Inflammatory words that are either injurious by themselves or might cause the hearer to immediately retaliate or breach the peace. Use of such words is not necessarily protected "free speech" under the First Amendment. If the hearer is prosecuted for assault, claiming fighting words may establish mitigating circumstances.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

fighting words
n. Speech not protected by the First Amendment because it is intended to bring about a violent response.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

fighting words
   words intentionally directed toward another person which are so nasty and full of malice as to cause the hearer to suffer emotional distress or incite him/her to immediately retaliate physically (hit, stab, shoot, etc.). While such words are not an excuse or defense for a retaliatory assault and battery, if they are threatening they can form the basis for a lawsuit for assault.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fighting words — are written or spoken words, generally expressed to incite hatred or violence and to place the targets of the words in danger of harm. Specific definitions, freedoms, and limitations of fighting words vary by jurisdiction. It is also used in a… …   Wikipedia

  • fighting words — fighting talk or fighting words plural noun (informal) Spirited words issuing a challenge or provoking a fight • • • Main Entry: ↑fight …   Useful english dictionary

  • fighting words — ☆ fighting words n. Informal a remark that stirs up antagonism * * * …   Universalium

  • fighting words — ☆ fighting words n. Informal a remark that stirs up antagonism …   English World dictionary

  • fighting words — (also fighting talk) plural noun 1》 informal words indicating a willingness to fight. 2》 US insulting or provocative words, especially of an ethnic, racial, or sexist nature, considered unacceptable or illegal by certain institutions …   English new terms dictionary

  • fighting words — noun Aggressive words that forseeably may lead to potentially violent confrontation; in law, often considered mitigation for otherwise sanctionable behavior (fighting) …   Wiktionary

  • fighting words doctrine — The First Amendment doctrine that holds that certain utterances are not constitutionally protected as free speech if they are inherently likely to provoke a violent response from the audience. N.A.A.C.P. v. Clairborne Hardware Co., Miss., 458 U.S …   Black's law dictionary

  • fighting talk — or fighting words plural noun (informal) Spirited words issuing a challenge or provoking a fight • • • Main Entry: ↑fight * * * fighting ˈtalk idiom comments or remarks that show that you are ready to fight very hard for sth • What we want from… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fighting and Combat — Have you ever seen one of those old westerns when some grizzled and toothless saloon patron says them s fighting words ? Well, here they are all twenty one of them! These words, all very obscure, refer to fighting, combat or conflict, whether… …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • fighting — /fuy ting/, adj. 1. fit to fight: a boxer who s no longer in fighting shape. 2. tending or meant to stir up a fight or hostility: fighting words. [1300 50; ME; see FIGHT, ING2] * * * …   Universalium

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