Definition of the Pledge of Allegiance noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Pledge of Allegiance

; NAmE
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a formal promise to be loyal to the US, which Americans make standing in front of the flag with their right hand on their heart Culture The words are: ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ It was first published in 1892 in the magazine Youth's Companion and written by the journalist Francis Bellamy. Congress added the words ‘under God’ in 1954 and this has caused a lot of argument. In 2002, in the case of Newdow v United States Congress, a San Francisco court decided that the added words were unconstitutional (= against the US constitution), but this decision was rejected by the Supreme Court. Many American children say the Pledge each morning at school as they face the flag and put their right hands over their hearts. Adults also often do this on formal public occasions.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: the Pledge of Allegiance