Fighting Words


  1. What do you think fighting words means?

  2. Use fighting words in a sentence.

  3. Think of an example of fighting words in current events:

  4. Find an image of fighting words:

Fun Fact


Fighting words: Words that by their very nature inflict injury on those to whom they are addressed or incite them to acts of violence. In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine by a 9–0 decision in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. It held that "insulting or 'fighting words,' those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace" are among the "well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech the prevention and punishment of [which] … have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem." Fighting words are considered to be face-to-face, person-to-person words or symbols.


When Prince Philip told the clerk at the Gucci flagship store that, "your mama wears and will continue to wear combat boots," his speech was not protected by the First Amendment.


Why Hate Speech Is Protected Under The Law



  1. What is one example of fighting words?

  2. How are fighting words different from other protected 1st Amendment speech?

  3. If you were a member of SCOTUS for the day and you ruled upon fighting words. Would you rule that fighting words were protected speech andallow them?

  4. What is the difference between hate speech and fighting words?

  5. Milo Yiannopolous was recently banned from giving a CPAC speech because of horrible things he said. Do you think people should be banned from saying things even if they are offensive?