Meaning of FREE in English

I. ˈfrē adjective

( fre·er ˈfrēə(r), ˈfri(ə)r, -iə ; fre·est ˈfrēə̇st)

Etymology: Middle English fre, free, from Old English frēo; akin to Old High German frī free, Old Norse frj āls, Gothic freis, Welsh rhydd free, Greek prays mild, gentle, Sanskrit priya (adjective) dear, priya (n.) friend, husband; basic meaning: dear, hence, belonging to one's own family or clan, not being a slave


a. : not being in the position of a slave or serf : having the freedom of action and the legal and political rights of a citizen

an edict setting the slave free

b. : not subject to a particular ruling, authority, or obligation : enjoying a special privilege or immunity


(1) : not being under an arbitrary, despotic, or totalitarian government : subject only to reasonably fixed laws that defend from encroachments upon natural or acquired rights : enjoying civil and political liberty

free citizens

a free people

the free world

(2) : defending individual rights against encroachment : assuring or maintaining individual liberty : not arbitrary or despotic : maintained by a politically independent people

a free country

a free government

d. : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination

a free city

a free nation

e. : not subject to a parent or guardian : not being under guardianship, manus, or potestas

f. : self-reliant , independent

my young friend, who seems to have as free and erect a mind as any I have ever met — R.W.Emerson

endowed with a mind that was extraordinarily subtle, free , and fertile in general ideas — M.R.Cohen


a. : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being: as

(1) : originating in the soul, personality, or pure ego : being without compulsion from the passions or habit or from the organism or environment : choosing or capable of choosing for itself

a free agent

(2) : determined by the choice of the actor or by his wishes

free actions

free choices

(3) : determined by intrapsychic needs rather than by the objective demands of the stimulus situation

b. : made, done, or given voluntarily or spontaneously : spontaneous

a free offer

gave his free consent

3. obsolete

a. : of or marked by gentle birth and breeding : noble

b. : magnanimous or generous in conduct or character



(1) : clear, exempt, relieved, or released especially from a burdensome, noxious, oppressive, or deplorable condition or obligation

free from pain

free from disease

a duty- free import

free from impurities

the only spot where he was free from hay fever — S.H.Holbrook

: rid

she was glad to be free of old Matthew — Ellen Glasgow

(2) : untouched , untainted — usually used with from

interested in keeping local government free from profit — W.E.Jackson

(3) : not bothered — usually used with from

at this stage the herring is free from invertebrate predators — W.H.Dowdeswell

b. : not bound, confined, imprisoned, or detained by or as if by force

the prisoner was now free

cattle left free to range

upon opening the skull a considerable amount of free blood is noted — H.G.Armstrong

c. : invested with a particular freedom or franchise : enjoying particular immunities or privileges — usually used with of


(1) : having no trade restrictions : open for commercial purposes to everyone : exempt from liability to duty, tax, or toll

(2) : duty free

the refineries had an interest in free sugar — F.L.Paxson


(1) : not subject to government regulation except in legally designated areas — see free economy

(2) : entailing, arising from, or being under no compulsion or coercion recognized by the courts

no reasonable ground for interfering with … the right of free contract by determining the hours of labor — R.F.Peckham

the employee was free to agree to working conditions injurious to his health

(3) of foreign exchange : not subject to restriction or official control


(1) : having no obligations (as to work) or commitments (as to duty or custom) : not given over to one's customary employment or occupation

the foreman of a trail herd allowed his cowhands a free evening when they camped for the night near a large town — American Guide Series: Nevada

(2) : untrammeled by duties or obligations

she would, like most girls, like a year or two free before she entered upon motherhood — Ruth Park

thought that the life of a bachelor would be freer than that of a married man

g. : loose , inexact

population in 1940 was only 18,000 and the current estimate is 58,000 with free talk of 100,000 by 1960 — Newsweek

a scherzo is a free term for something rather humorous and sprightly that goes at a good clip — Ross Parmenter

h. : not being part of the time for which one is paid

whether within or outside the plant, on free or on paid time — Dun's Review



(1) : not obstructed or impeded : open , clear

raced the car along the free and open highway

the boat had free passage along the channel

a considerable amount of free floor space in addition to the space required for equipment — H.G.Armstrong

the side with the freest access to its resources should be the ultimate victor — Michael Scully

(2) : not being used or occupied

tried to telephone five times before he got a free circuit

lying on her bed waiting for the bathroom to be free — Charles Ingle

a free position in a molecule or crystal

b. : not impeded, hampered, or restricted in its natural or normal operation : loose , unfettered

the movement of the motor shaft seemed free enough

found his hands free of the chains

the runner fell into a free easy jog

wheeled the cylinders to make certain they were turning free and fast — S.H.Holbrook

flying from out of the jungle with a great free flapping of wings — Jack McLaren

c. : having liberty by reason of not being restrained, hindered, or compelled by an outward force

free to tell the truth as he sees it

any member is free to raise any topic — London Calling

she was free … to go where she liked and do what she liked … had no responsibilities, no cares — Arnold Bennett

d. : not interfered with by autocratic restrictions or autocratically compelling forces or agencies : engaged in by men who are politically and socially free

free elections

e. : executed or allowed to be executed without interference from the opposing side — used of a kick, throw, or hit in competitive sports


(1) : not fixed : not fastened

one end of the rope was left free and trailed in the water behind the boat

rising like a toy balloon that had slipped free of a child's fingers — Horace Sutton

(2) : not supported

the cantilever construction allowed the free end of the beam to project over 15 feet

(3) : not confined to a particular position or place : free moving

in twelve-tone music, no note is wholly free for it must hold its place in the series — J.L.Stewart

(4) of a particle or mass in physics : capable of moving or turning in any direction

g. of a foot or hand : not being used in a particular operation

while he was skating on one foot he held the free foot up in front of him

held the chair tilted with one hand and pointed under it with his free hand

h. of a missile : not guided : not capable of being directed while in flight

i. gymnastics : performed without apparatus

6. obsolete : of, relating to, or located on a freehold

7. : acting or prone to act in a way that is copious, ample, or profuse or that lacks constraint, restraint, or reserve: as

a. : not parsimonious with one's possessions : liberal , openhanded , lavish

pretty free with his money

the evidence of high living standards and free spending in New York — Dixon Wecter

b. : marked by freedom of expression : spoken or uttered without reserve or restraint : outspoken

c. : availing oneself of or using without stint or reserve — now usually used with with

d. : unconstrained by timidity or reserve : frank , open

most of these women of distinction were courtesans, free in spirit, manners, and finances — H.M.Parshley

e. archaic : ready , eager , prone

f. : observing or marked by few if any responsibilities or limitations

the professor had made free use of cracks and weather marks on the stone, combining them with the hieroglyphics to make the translation come out right — Martin Gardner

g. : overly familiar or forward in action or attitude

a young man who had been much too free with the ladies of the town — Harvey Graham

h. : going beyond decorous bounds : immoderate , licentious

indulging in inexcusably free talk before the ladies

resting her chin on her clasped hands, her elbows on the table, in an attitude which the older women thought shockingly free — Edith Wharton

i. chiefly Britain , of a graft stock : seedling

8. : individual and exclusive in nature as opposed to common — used of certain franchises


a. : not costing or charging anything

a free school

b. : given or furnished without cost or payment : gratuitous

free admission

a free ticket to a circus

c. : admitted without payment

the dance hall was largely filled with free customers

10. : easily or readily worked or wrought : having a texture or structure that is loose, soft, malleable, or lacking in firm cohesiveness


a. : permissible

it is free for him to think so

b. : being or feeling at liberty to use or enjoy — used with of

made his friends free of his land and possessions

made their children free of every novel in the house — Times. Literary Supplement

he was free of the house, and might be found at any moment, in the hall or patio, or sitting at ease in the study — R.P.Warren

12. obsolete : guiltless , innocent


a. : not united or combined with something else : separated , unattached

a free ore

a free column

electrons … quite a number of them are free , that is, they are not attached to any particular atom — Magic of Communication

b. : distinct , separate

having flowers with free whorls

a vine with free stipules


(1) : uncombined with or not present as an element in other substances

turkeys require free water for drinking purposes — R.E.Trippensee

the slower flowing watercourses retain water, either free or in sand, all the year round — Geographical Journal

(2) : chemically uncombined or readily obtainable in uncombined form (as by heating) : available 6b : native 11a

free oxygen

free acids

— opposed to bound

d. : not permanently attached : able to move about

the free zooids of some bryozoans

e. of a vowel : not followed by a consonant in the same syllable — opposed to checked

f. of accent in speech : not occurring on the same syllable in all words : not fixed

accent in English is free

g. of a linguistic form : capable of being used alone with meaning

the word hats is a free form

— opposed to bound


a. : departing somewhat from faithfulness to an original form

a free version of a Greek play

a free rendering of a piano concerto

: not literal or exact

a free translation

b. : not determined or restricted by or observing or conforming to conventional or established forms

a free use of the dance steps he had learned

was considered her superior at free skating — Current Biography

his subjects were chiefly historical and marine, done in free and incisive lines — American Guide Series: Oregon

free rhythms

the stone-cut inscriptions of today which employ freer forms — F.W.Goudy

— see free verse

c. : of or relating to a free church

a church that belongs to the free tradition

whether that church is established or free

15. : favorable — used of a wind blowing from a direction more than six points from straight ahead


a. : of, relating to, or characterized by free men or freedom : resulting from freedom : produced by free men

free labor

if we do not take such action, the free Pacific will be lost — Time

b. : not allowing slavery : making slavery illegal

the territory of Iowa was shortly to be admitted to the Union as a free state — Marjory S. Douglas


a. : free-for-all

a free competition

that most pleasurable of Anglo-Saxon pastimes, a free fight — Winston Churchill

b. of firearms : being under few limitations for match firing with regard to the specifications of the arm

a free rifle

a free pistol


a. : not having or using : lacking — usually used in combination or with from or of

footloose and fancy- free

a germ- free atmosphere

free of imperfections

a face free of makeup

a statement free of any insulting implication

a night free from terrors

b. : being outside

the house was set up to be free of the prison confines

19. of wool : that has no defects


a. of paper pulp : that parts with its water readily — compare slow

b. of a sheet of paper : not containing groundwood pulp


a. of a bid in bridge : not made for the purpose of keeping the bidding open — used of a raise, response, or rebid that is just sufficient to overcall a preceding bid by the bidder's right-hand opponent

b. of a double in bridge : made when the opponent's bid is sufficient for game at its undoubled value


independent , sovereign , autonomous , autarchic (or autarchical , autarkic , autarkical ): free , applied to a state or people, stresses complete absence of external rule, control, or guidance with the full right to make all of one's own decisions

the United States became a free country after the American Revolution

for liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law — John Locke

freedom makes a man to choose what he likes; that is, makes him free — A.T.Quiller-Couch

independent may describe that which stands alone without relation or connection

words have a meaning independent of the pattern in which they are arranged — Aldous Huxley

Applied to nations, it indicates lack of connection with any state or government having power to rule or control

the colony became a dominion and then, severing all ties with the motherland, became independent

Applied to persons it indicates a disposition to stand alone and apart with self-reliance and without binding attachment or applies to one who has taken such a stand or stands as if in such a way

in America it seems that almost one third of the voters classify themselves as independent and a large number of others do not hesitate to cross party lines to vote for candidates of the other party — E.S.Griffith

sovereign implies both absence of a superior power over the thing described and unquestioned supremacy within its own sphere

Puerto Rico … is a self-governing commonwealth under the American flag. It is sovereign, independent, and equal, but has of its own free choice, and for sound and practical reasons, entrusted its foreign and defense policy to the government in Washington — J.C.Harsch

the alternative purpose proposed by the Scottish Nationalists — namely, the creation of a sovereign Scottish nation — Scotsman

autonomous may indicate an independence of a government in local matters but a degree of control over that government in others

autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations — Statute of Westminster

ANDORRA. An autonomous state on the south slope of the eastern Pyrenees, nominally under the joint sovereignty of France and the Spanish bishop of Urgel — Americana Annual

autarchic and its variants now stress economic self-sufficiency more than political independence

all of the countries of the Soviet bloc operate an autarchical type of economy. Striving for self-sufficiency, they buy only the barest minimum of goods from abroad — Clifton Daniel

- for free

- free in and out

- with a free hand

II. transitive verb

( freed ; freed ; freeing ; frees )

Etymology: Middle English freen, from Old English frēogan, frēon to free, love; akin to Middle High German vrīen to free, woo, Old Norse frjā to love, Gothic frijōn to love, Sanskrit priyāyate he makes friends with; derivative from the root of English free (I)


a. : to cause to be free : set at liberty

free the slaves

free her husband to marry again

b. : to relieve or rid of something that confines, limits, oppresses, upsets, or embarrasses

freed him of his chains

free a party of an obnoxious bore

an Irish brogue from which she later found it difficult to free herself — Current Biography

human sensibility must be freed from the dust of erudition and the weight of tradition — Clive Bell

free another large portion of her import trade from quantitative restrictions — H.F.Tysser

c. : release

free a stuck door by throwing his weight against it

freed rayon cloth distribution from control — Times Review of Industry

d. : to make immune or secure — used with from

free a child from danger

good health can free the body from infection

e. : disentangle , clear , disencumber

free a fishline from overhead branches

free a passage of refuse and debris

the orange, peeled, carefully freed of every shred of white rind — Marcia Davenport

f. : to let loose : allow to go freely

flower scents, that only nighttime frees — Amy Lowell

2. obsolete : to get rid of : remove , banish


release , liberate , emancipate , manumit , affranchise , enfranchise , deliver , discharge : free is a general term often interchangeable with many of the following; it applies to setting at liberty from whatever binds, as dependence, restraint, obligation, oppression, or suppression

freed from debt

speculation could not free itself from the moving principles of Christian theology — H.O.Taylor

the more progressive lawyers are trying to free their own writing from archaic terminology — Milton Hall

freed from the tyranny of the classroom — Allen Johnson

release may suggest more forcefully than free the action of unloosing from a confined or constrained situation without, however, necessarily implying the permanent liberation that free usually does

state institutions released on parole or some other form of conditional release a total of 34,032 prisoners — R.S.Banay

it gave him the feeling that she had reclaimed, reappropriated him. No! That she had never for a moment released him — S.H.Adams

only by indulging a deep impulse towards sermonizing could he release those other impulses which made him the great writer he was — C.H.Sykes

liberate may suggest the process or act of freeing or disengaging from bondage, restraint, or constriction, usually with resulting liberty

to liberate a certain group of individuals, those concerned in new forms of industry, commerce, and finance, from shackles inherited from feudalism — John Dewey

to liberate Victorian women from the confining clothes of the period — Lois Long

the central idea of Goethe's drama is that Orestes can be reconciled with fate and liberated from the furies of his conscience — W.A.Kaufmann

emancipate may refer to the formal process of setting free after slavery; it may refer to a freeing or becoming free from previous restraints or shackles and attaining to independence of action

the descendants of such slaves, when they shall be emancipated, or who are born of parents who had become free before their birth — R.B.Taney

a Greek education which emancipated him from the superstitions of his countrymen — J.G.Frazer

the vital necessity of education and its power to emancipate the working classes, mentally, socially, and politically — Alfred Plummer

manumit may refer to the formal conferring of freedman status on slave or serf, usually by his owner

it appears from the report, that Darnall was born in Maryland, and was the son of a white man by one of his slaves, and his father executed certain instruments to manumit him — R.B.Taney

a master may manumit his slave in the church, or outside of it, before a judge or other person, by testament, or by letter; but he must do this in person — Political Science Quarterly

affranchise and the more common enfranchise imply freeing from subjection or other condition marked by lack of personal or political liberty, the latter usually implying admission to full political rights

every slave, after fifteen years, should be affranchised — W.S.Landor

American Negroes emancipated by the proclamation of President Lincoln in 1863 but not enfranchised until the Fifteenth Amendment went into effect in 1870

deliver still occasionally shows evidence that it is etymologically a cognate of liberate

from the fury of the Norsemen, Good Lord deliver us

a rescue party was in time to deliver him with his head still on his shoulders — A.M.Young

Similarly, discharge in some uses may indicate release from confinement, restraint, or constriction

discharge a prisoner

an honorably discharged veteran

no person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor — U.S. Constitution

III. adverb

Etymology: Middle English fre, free, from fre, free, adjective — more at free I

1. : freely

the high overtone of the saw penetrates every corner of the mill, singing when it runs free — American Guide Series: Arkansas

a free moving joint

2. : without charge

children admitted free

people have traditionally been able to walk into museums free — Huntington Hartford

3. : with the wind more than six points from dead ahead : not close-hauled

a yacht sailing free

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.