Definition of moral panic in English:

moral panic


  • An instance of public anxiety or alarm in response to a problem regarded as threatening the moral standards of society.

    ‘the moral panic about ‘the tide of filth’ polluting our land’
    • ‘We must not hold back that kind of innovation in the way in which universities and colleges structure their activities by indulging in a moral panic about the closure of departments.’
    • ‘But there is a big increase in the fear of gun crime as a result of the moral panic about young people, and black young people especially.’
    • ‘Are we talking about the genetic modification of crops to make them healthier and more profitable, or are we sinking down into the cloning debate and all the moral panics that particular subject breeds?’
    • ‘Most of the moral panics surrounding the internet result from a fear of the diversity and quantity of information exchanged online.’
    • ‘Movies have long been a magnet for scrutiny, hysteria or moral panics, though obviously television now draws much of that dubious attention.’
    • ‘Why is so much public discussion today dominated by moral panics about what we eat, drink and breathe?’
    • ‘Undoubtedly police officers experience external political pressure for ‘results’, more or less so at different times according to particular moral panics or trends in crime statistics.’
    • ‘Academics have long discussed the idea of the moral panic, in which fear and hysteria are magnified and distorted - perhaps even created - by social institutions.’
    • ‘Rather than confront the unpalatable truths about the location of child abuse and the material conditions which create it, it suits the authorities and sections of the media to whip up moral panics.’
    • ‘They appear in the midst of a moral panic in Britain about asylum seekers and their real or imagined crimes.’
    • ‘When the cassette recorder was invented, the music industry announced a moral panic over the fact that people could simply steal music from the radio, or copy it from each other.’
    • ‘Indeed, he asks, does the state expand in rational and sensible ways to meet real policy needs, or rather in response to fevered moral panics?’
    • ‘Second, the moral panic about the violence of these games has had no effect whatsoever.’