/ friː; NAmE / adjective , verb , adverb
( freer / ˈfriːə(r); NAmE / freest / ˈfriːɪst; NAmE /)
free (to do sth) not under the control or in the power of sb else; able to do what you want :
I have no ambitions other than to have a happy life and be free.
Students have a free choice of courses in their final year.
You are free to come and go as you please.
( informal )
'Can I use the phone?' 'Please, feel free (= of course you can use it) .'
not restricted or controlled by anyone else; able to do or say what you want :
A true democracy complete with free speech and a free press was called for.
the country's first free election
They gave me free access to all the files.
( of a person ) not a prisoner or slave :
He walked out of jail a free man .
ANIMAL / BIRD
not tied up or in a cage :
The researchers set the birds free .
costing nothing :
Admission is free.
free samples / tickets / advice
We're offering a fabulous free gift with each copy you buy.
You can't expect people to work for free (= without payment) .
clear; not blocked :
Ensure there is a free flow of air around the machine.
free from / of sth not containing or affected by sth harmful or unpleasant :
free from difficulty / doubt / fear
free from artificial colours and flavourings
It was several weeks before he was completely free of pain.
-free (in adjectives) without the thing mentioned :
virtually fat-free yogurt
a trouble-free life
NOT ATTACHED / TRAPPED
free (of sth) not attached to sth or trapped by sth :
Pull gently on the free end of the rope.
They had to be cut free from their car after the accident.
She finally managed to pull herself free.
NOT BEING USED
not being used :
He held out his free hand and I took it.
Is this seat free?
free (for sth) ( of a person or time ) without particular plans or arrangements; not busy :
If Sarah is free for lunch I'll take her out.
Keep Friday night free for my party.
What do you like to do in your free time (= when you are not working) ?
READY TO GIVE
free with sth (often disapproving ) ready to give sth, especially when it is not wanted :
He's too free with his opinions.
a free translation is not exact but gives the general meaning
- free and easy
- get, have, etc. a free hand
- get, take, etc. a free ride
- it's a free country
- there's no such thing as a free lunch
—more at home adverb , rein noun
[ vn ] free sb (from sth) to allow sb to leave prison or somewhere they have been kept against their will
SYN release :
By the end of May nearly 100 of an estimated 2 000 political prisoners had been freed.
The hijackers agreed to free a further ten hostages.
SB / STH TRAPPED
[ vn ] free sb/sth / yourself (from sth) to move sb/sth that is caught or fixed on sth
SYN release :
Three people were freed from the wreckage.
She struggled to free herself.
[ vn ] free sb/sth of / from sb/sth to remove sth that is unpleasant or not wanted from sb/sth
SYN rid :
These exercises help free the body of tension.
The police are determined to free the town of violent crime.
The centre aims to free young people from dependency on drugs.
[ vn ] free sb/sth (up) to make sb/sth available for a particular purpose :
We freed time each week for a project meeting.
The government has promised to free up more resources for education.
[ vn to inf ] to give sb the extra time to do sth that they want to do :
Winning the prize freed him to paint full-time.
(also ˌfree of ˈcharge ) without payment :
Children under five travel free.
away from or out of a position in which sb/sth is stuck or trapped :
The wagon broke free from the train.
—see also scot-free
- make free with sth
- run free
—more at walk verb
Old English frēo (adjective), frēon (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vrij and German frei , from an Indo-European root meaning to love, shared by friend .