Speak Truth To Power

What does it mean to speak truth to power?

Stand up for what is right

To speak truth to power is when one or more people stand up for what is right by resisting an oppressive force, such as a person or company. It has become a rallying cry for people resisting or uncovering corrupt, unfair, and incorrect practices performed by people in positions of power, especially the government.

While some date the phrase back to Ancient Greece, its modern-day roots go back to the early 1940s, when it was popularized by American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He advocated for nonviolent methods for battling greater powers to achieve social justice.

"Speak truth to power" has been adopted by various nonviolent resistance groups over the years, including against the Soviet Union during the Cold War and against the Taliban in the Middle East. It gained more exposure in the late-2010s, especially on social media, as a way to encourage dissidents to rebel.

You will probably see it in protests for racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, censorship, and other issues defying government laws or the "status quo." The phrase is prevalent on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat among social activists.


Don't give up. Speak truth to power whenever you can and we will eventually achieve equality.
Tweet calling out "intellectual" hypocrites
Tweet calling out "intellectual" hypocrites

Related Slang


Updated November 17, 2020

Speak truth to power definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Speak truth to power" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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