clear and present danger

Cultural Dictionary

clear and present danger definition


The standard set by the Supreme Court for judging when freedom of speech may lawfully be limited. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., illustrated the point by arguing that no one has a constitutional right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater when no fire is present, for such action would pose a “clear and present danger” to public safety. (See First Amendment.)

The American Heritage® 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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WordNet
clear and present danger

noun
a standard for judging when freedom of speech can be abridged; "no one has a right to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater when there is no fire because such an action would pose a clear and present danger to public safety" 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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