Roth v. United States (1957) Definition

A U.S. Supreme Court case that adopted the "prurient interest" standard as the test for deciding whether material is obscene. Specifically, the test is whether an average person, applying contemporary community standards to the material as a whole, would conclude that the material appeals to prurient (immodest or unwholesome) sexual interests. According to the Court, obscenity has no redeeming social importance and therefore is not entitled to First Amendment free speech protection.

Today, Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) announces the controlling definition of obscenity. Miller incorporated the Roth prurient interest standard and added additional factors to it.