Fourth-estate Definition

noun
Journalism or journalists.
Webster's New World
Journalists considered as a group; the public press.
American Heritage
Synonyms:
other
A term first used by historian Thomas Carlyle (1795
Webster's New World Telecom

Origin of Fourth-estate

  • The three (in England) estates were originally the three classes of people who could participate in government, either directly or by electing representatives – originally the clergy, barons/knights, and the commons (though they changed over time). Later the "three estates" were misunderstood as being the three governmental powers necessary for legislation: the Crown, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons; from there, the idea of a "fourth estate" was often used in satirical or jocular expressions, before developing a fixed association with the Press.

    From Wiktionary

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