noun, (often initial capital letters)
the journalistic profession or its members; the press.
a group other than the usual powers, as the three estates of France, that wields influence in the politics of a country.
(sometimes capitals) journalists or their profession; the press See estate (sense 4)
“the press,” by 1824, and especially from 1831, British English. For the other three, see estate. Earlier the term had been applied in various senses that did not stick, including “the mob” (1752), “the lawyers” (1825). The extension to the press is perhaps an outgrowth of the former.
Hence, through the light of letters and the liberty of the press, public opinion has risen to the rank of a fourth estate in our constitution; in times of quiet and order, silent and still, but in the collisions of the different branches of our government, deciding as an umpire with unbounded authority. [“Memoir of James Currie, M.D.,” 1831]
[Newspapers] began to assume some degree of political importance, during the civil wars of the seventeenth century, in England; but it is not until within the last fifty years that they have become, — as they are now justly styled, — a Fourth Estate, exercising a more powerful influence on the public affairs of the countries in which they are permitted to circulate freely, than the other three put together. [Alexander H. Everett, “Address to the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Bowdoin College,” 1834]
- Fourth generation computer
architecture A computer built using Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) integrated circuits, especially a microcomputer based on a microprocesseor, or a parallel processor containing two to thousands of CPUs. VLSI made it routine to fabricate an entire CPU, main memory, or similar device with a single integrated circuit that can be mass produced at very […]
- Fourth generation language
language (4GL, or “report generator language”) An “application specific” language, one with built-in knowledge of an application domain, in the way that SQL has built-in knowledge of the relational database domain. The term was invented by Jim Martin to refer to non-procedural high level languages built around database systems. Fourth generation languages are close to […]
- Fourth heart sound
fourth heart sound n. The heart sound occurring in late diastole, corresponding with atrial contraction.
noun 1. a loose federation of small groups of radical socialists formed in 1936 under the leadership of Leon Trotsky and hostile to the Soviet Union. Compare (def 6). noun 1. another name for Trotskyist International