Meaning of FREE in English

I. free 1 S1 W1 /friː/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ freebie , ↑ freedom ; adverb : ↑ free , ↑ freely ; verb : ↑ free ; adjective : ↑ free ]

1 . NO COST something that is free does not cost you any money:

Admission is free for children under 9.

All students are offered free accommodation.

Send for our free information pack for more details.

There’s a special free gift with this month’s magazine.

2 . NOT A PRISONER not held, tied up, or kept somewhere as a prisoner:

He knew he could be free in as little as three years.

With one leap he was free!

He walked out of the courtroom a free man.

They have called on the government to set all political prisoners free.

He was found not guilty and walked free from the court.

The animals are allowed to run free in the park.

Hundreds of dogs roam free on the streets.

break/pull/struggle free

She broke free from her attacker.

3 . NOT CONTROLLED allowed to do or say whatever you want, or allowed to happen, without being controlled or restricted by anyone or anything:

We had a free and open discussion about religion.

free to do something

Remember, you are free to say no.

free from

Newspapers today are entirely free from government control.

Women are struggling to break free from tradition.

free of

I longed to be free of my family.

He became president following the country’s first free elections last year.

We would all support the principle of free speech.

For the first time in its history, the country has a free press.

Patients are now allowed free access to their medical records.

The legislation will allow the free movement of goods through all the countries in Europe.

4 . NOT BUSY if you are free, or have some free time, you have no work, and nothing else that you must do ⇨ available :

I’m free next weekend.

free for

Are you free for lunch tomorrow?

free to do something

At last I was free to concentrate on my own research.

a free day/morning/half-hour etc

I haven’t got a free day this week.

Children these days have very little free time.

5 . NOT BEING USED something that is free is available to use because it is not already being used:

Is this seat free?

I’m afraid we don’t have any free tables this evening.

He used his free hand to open the door.

6 . NOT SUFFERING not suffering from something

free of

At last she was free of pain.

free from

A lot of the patients are now free from symptoms.

pain-free/trouble-free etc

a stress-free life

7 . NOT CONTAINING SOMETHING not containing something

free from/of

All our drinks are free from artificial colourings.

fat-free/dairy-free etc

a fat-free yoghurt

8 . TAX if something is free of tax, you do not have to pay tax on it

free of

This income should be free of tax.

tax-free/duty-free etc

tax-free earnings

an opportunity to buy duty-free goods

9 . feel free spoken used to tell someone that they can do something:

Feel free to ask questions.

‘Can I use your bathroom?’ ‘Yes, feel free.’

10 . free and easy relaxed, friendly, and without many rules:

I knew that life wasn’t going to be so free and easy now.

the free and easy atmosphere of university life

11 . free spirit someone who lives as they want to rather than in the way that society considers normal

12 . give somebody a free hand/rein to let someone do whatever they want or need to do in a particular situation:

The producer was given a free rein with the script.

13 . there’s no free lunch ( also there’s no such thing as a free lunch ) used to say that you should not expect to get something good without having to pay for it or make any effort

14 . it’s a free country British English used, usually humorously, to say that you are or should be allowed to do something, after someone has said that you should not do it:

It’s a free country. You can’t stop me.

15 . get/take a free ride informal to get something without paying for it or working for it, because other people are paying or working for it:

They are encouraging all workers to join the union rather than just taking a free ride on those who do join.

16 . be free with something to be very generous with something:

He seems to be very free with other people’s money.

She is always free with her advice.

17 . make free with something informal to use something that belongs to someone else when you should not:

I knew that they had been making free with our food.

18 . NOT RESTRICTED something that is free is not held, blocked, or restricted:

We opened both doors to allow a free flow of air through the building.

19 . CHEMICALS technical a free chemical substance is not combined with any other substance:

the amount of free oxygen in the atmosphere

• • •


▪ free something that is free does not cost you any money:

Parking is free after 6 pm.


‘How much is it to get into the concert?’ ‘Oh, I think it’s free.’


They were giving away free tickets for the concert.


I’m saving these tokens to get a free poster.

▪ for nothing/for free without having to pay for something that you would normally have to pay for:

He offered to fix the car for nothing.


Fans were allowed into the stadium for nothing as a way of celebrating.


Children under five can see the show for free.

▪ at no extra cost if a shop or company provides an additional service at no extra cost, they do it without asking you for any more money:

The shop will install the cooker for you at no extra cost.


Tours of the city are available from the hotel at no extra cost.

▪ complimentary [only before noun] free – use this about things that a company, theatre, hotel etc gives people:

Karen’s sister works at the New York Ballet and she’s managed to get us some complimentary tickets.


Honeymooners receive a complimentary bottle of champagne in their hotel room.

▪ be on the house if food or drinks are on the house, the owner of a bar or restaurant says you do not have to pay for them:

These drinks are on the house.

▪ gratis especially written without having to pay for something:

Users will be able to listen to tracks (=songs) gratis.

II. free 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle freed , present participle freeing ) [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ freebie , ↑ freedom ; adverb : ↑ free , ↑ freely ; verb : ↑ free ; adjective : ↑ free ]

1 . RELEASE to allow someone to leave prison or somewhere they have been kept as a prisoner SYN release :

He expects to be freed quite soon.

The terrorists have at last agreed to free the hostages.

free somebody from something

She was freed from prison last week.

2 . NOT CONTROL to allow someone to say and do what they want, after controlling or restricting them in the past

free somebody from/of something

The press has now been freed from political control.

She longed to be freed of her responsibilities.

Art frees the imagination.

3 . ALLOW SOMEBODY/SOMETHING TO MOVE to move someone or something so that they are no longer held, fixed, or trapped SYN release :

He struggled to free himself, but the ropes were too tight.

I couldn’t free the safety catch.

free somebody/something from something

All the victims have now been freed from the wreckage.

4 . STOP SOMEBODY SUFFERING to stop someone suffering from something by removing it

free somebody from something

new drugs that can free people from pain

At last the country has been freed from its enormous debts.

5 . MAKE AVAILABLE ( also free something ↔ up ) to make something available so that it can be used:

I need to free up some of the disk space on my computer.

This should free some money for investment.

6 . GIVE SOMEBODY MORE TIME ( also free somebody ↔ up ) to give someone time to do something by taking away other jobs that they have to do

free somebody (up) to do something

Taking away the burden of administration will free teachers to concentrate on teaching.

We have freed up some staff to deal with the backlog of work.

III. free 3 BrE AmE adverb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ freebie , ↑ freedom ; adverb : ↑ free , ↑ freely ; verb : ↑ free ; adjective : ↑ free ]

1 . without payment:

Children under four can travel free.

You can get advice free from your local library.

for free

He offered to do the work for free.

All these services are available to the public free of charge.

2 . not fixed or held in a particular place or position:

The ropes were now hanging free.

A gold chain swung free around his neck.

⇨ ↑ freely , ↑ scot-free

IV. free 4 BrE AmE noun [countable] British English informal

a FREE TRANSFER ; the process by which a player moves from one football club to another, but the new club does not pay any money for him:

We got Kevin on a free from Manchester United.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.