Phrase of the day…just what IS the fifth estate?


huge old church in Maastricht, NetherlandsAccording to Wikipedia “The term “Fifth Estate” has no fixed meaning, but is used — following a formulation that dates back to the 18th century — to describe any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate), and the press (Fourth Estate).It has been used to describe civil society (including trade unions) and the poor or the proletariat. It can also be used to describe media outlets (including the blogosphere) that see themselves in opposition to mainstream media (the official Press). The term is entirely different in origin and meaning from “Fifth Column“, which is used to describe subversive or insurgent elements in a society.”

So, in other words, we have a mystery phrase here because no one agrees on just exactly what “the Fifth Estate” is, and we’re not talking about a movie!

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