Definition of Free at

adjective, fre·er [free-er] /ˈfri ər/, fre·est [free-ist] /ˈfri ɪst/.

enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery: a land of free people.

pertaining to or reserved for those who enjoy personal liberty: They were thankful to be living on free soil.

existing under, characterized by, or possessing civil and political liberties that are, as a rule, constitutionally guaranteed by representative government: the free nations of the world.

enjoying political autonomy, as a people or country not under foreign rule; independent.

exempt from external authority, interference, restriction, etc., as a person or one’s will, thought, choice, action, etc.; independent; unrestricted.

able to do something at will; at liberty: free to choose.

clear of obstructions or obstacles, as a road or corridor: The highway is now free of fallen rock.

not occupied or in use: I’ll try to phone her again if the line is free.

exempt or released from something specified that controls, restrains, burdens, etc. (usually followed by from or of): free from worry; free of taxes.See also -free.

having immunity or being safe (usually followed by from): free from danger.

provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment: free parking; a free sample.

given without consideration of a return or reward: a free offer of legal advice.

unimpeded, as motion or movement; easy, firm, or swift.

not held fast; loose; unattached: to get one’s arm free.

not joined to or in contact with something else: The free end of the cantilever sagged.

acting without self-restraint or reserve: to be too free with one’s tongue.

ready or generous in giving; liberal; lavish: to be free with one’s advice.

given readily or in profusion; unstinted.

frank and open; unconstrained, unceremonious, or familiar.

unrestrained by decency; loose or licentious: free behavior.

not subject to special regulations, restrictions, duties, etc.: The ship was given free passage.

that may be used by or is open to all: a free market.

engaged in by all present; general: a free fight.

not literal, as a translation, adaptation, or the like; loose.

uncombined chemically: free oxygen.

traveling without power; under no force except that of gravity or inertia: free flight.

Phonetics. (of a vowel) situated in an open syllable (opposed to checked).

at liberty to enter and enjoy at will (usually followed by of): to be free of a friend’s house.

not subject to rules, set forms, etc.: The young students had an hour of free play between classes.

easily worked, as stone, land, etc.

Mathematics. (of a vector) having specified magnitude and direction but no specified initial point.Compare bound1(def 9).Also large. Nautical. (of a wind) nearly on the quarter, so that a sailing vessel may sail free.not containing a specified substance (usually followed by of or from): Our deli meats are free of additives.See also -free.(of a linguistic form) occurring as an independent construction, without necessary combination with other forms, as most words.Compare bound1(def 11).

without cost, payment, or charge.


in a free manner; freely.

Nautical. away from the wind, so that a sailing vessel need not be close-hauled: running free.

verb (used with object), freed, free·ing.

to make free; set at liberty; release from bondage, imprisonment, or restraint.

to exempt or deliver (usually followed by from).

to relieve or rid (usually followed by of): to free oneself of responsibility.

to disengage; clear (usually followed by from or of).

Verb Phrases

free up,

  1. to release, as from restrictions: Congress voted to free up funds for the new highway system.
  2. to disentangle: It took an hour to free up the traffic jam.

Words nearby free



fredet-ramstedt operation










free agent


free air


free alongside ship


free and accepted masons


free and clear

Idioms for free

    for free, Informal. without charge: The tailor mended my jacket for free.

    free and clear, Law. without any encumbrance, as a lien or mortgage: They owned their house free and clear.

    free and easy,

    1. unrestrained; casual; informal.
    2. excessively or inappropriately casual; presumptuous.

    make free with,

    1. to use as one’s own; help oneself to: If you make free with their liquor, you won’t be invited again.
    2. to treat with too much familiarity; take liberties with.

    set free, to release; liberate; free: The prisoners were set free.

    with a free hand, generously; freely; openhandedly: He entertains visitors with a free hand.

Origin of free

First recorded

before 900; Middle English fre, Old English frēo;

cognate with

Gothic freis, Old High German frī


German frei


Dutch vrij, Sanskrit priyá-

“dear.” Cf.





free·ness, nouno·ver·free, adjectiveo·ver·free·ly, adverbqua·si-free, adjective

qua·si-free·ly, adverbun·free, verb (used with object), un·freed, un·free·ing, adjectiveun·free·ly, adverb

Definition for free (2 of 2)


a combining form with the general sense “free of or from something specified,” and typically meaning “not having, containing, subject to, or affected by something unwanted, burdensome, etc.”: error-free; gluten-free; tax-free; germfree.See also free(defs 9, 34). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for free

  • In other words, the free thinker defending freedom of thought.

  • Tend to your own garden, to quote the great sage of free speech, Voltaire, and invite people to follow your example.

  • The simple, awful truth is that free speech has never been particularly popular in America.

  • In other words, the free speech exhibited by the folks at Charlie Hebdo was not virtuous—until there was a body count.

  • Asserting our right to free speech is the only to ensure that 12 people did not die in vain.

  • The truth is, that we need both the discipline of harness and the abundant nourishment of the free pasture.

  • It was free to exclude from the meeting on arbitrary and even on frivolous grounds.

  • Their destiny is in your hand and mine—a free Nation without a slave—the hope, refuge and inspiration of the world.

  • The house of lords meanwhile was not free from animosity and contention.

  • My only fear is that the coral may grow over and cover it up before I am free to get out there.

British Dictionary definitions for free (1 of 2)


adjective freer or freest

able to act at will; not under compulsion or restraint

  1. having personal rights or liberty; not enslaved or confined
  2. (as noun)land of the free

(often postpositive and foll by from) not subject (to) or restricted (by some regulation, constraint, etc); exempta free market; free from pain

(of a country, etc) autonomous or independent

exempt from external direction or restriction; not forced or inducedfree will

not subject to conventional constraintsfree verse

(of jazz) totally improvised, with no preset melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic basis

not exact or literala free translation

costing nothing; provided without chargefree entertainment

law (of property)

  1. not subject to payment of rent or performance of services; freehold
  2. not subject to any burden or charge, such as a mortgage or lien; unencumbered

(postpositive; often foll by of or with) ready or generous in using or giving; liberal; lavishfree with advice

unrestrained by propriety or good manners; licentious

not occupied or in use; availablea free cubicle

not occupied or busy; without previous engagementsI’m not free until Wednesday

open or available to all; public

without charge to the subscriber or userfreepost; freephone

not fixed or joined; loosethe free end of a chain

without obstruction or impedimentfree passage

chem chemically uncombinedfree nitrogen

phonetics denoting a vowel that can occur in an open syllable, such as the vowel in see as opposed to the vowel in cat

grammar denoting a morpheme that can occur as a separate wordCompare bound 1 (def. 8a)logic denoting an occurrence of a variable not bound by a quantifierCompare bound 1 (def. 9)

(of some materials, such as certain kinds of stone) easily worked

nautical (of the wind) blowing from the quarter

feel free (usually imperative) to regard oneself as having permission to perform a specified action

for free not standard without charge or cost

free and easy casual or tolerant; easy-going

make free with to take liberties with; behave too familiarly towards


in a free manner; freely

without charge or cost

nautical with the wind blowing from the quartera yacht sailing free

verb frees, freeing or freed (tr)

(sometimes foll by up) to set at liberty; release

to remove obstructions, attachments, or impediments from; disengage

(often foll by of or from) to relieve or rid (of obstacles, pain, etc)

Derived forms of free

freer, nounfreely, adverbfreeness, noun

Word Origin for free

Old English frēo; related to Old Saxon, Old High German frī, Gothic freis free, Sanskrit priya dear

British Dictionary definitions for free (2 of 2)


adj combining form

free fromtrouble-free; lead-free petrol

Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with free


In addition to the idioms beginning with free

  • free agent
  • free and clear
  • free and easy
  • free as a bird
  • free enterprise
  • free fall
  • free hand
  • free lunch
  • free rein

also see:

  • breathe easy (freely)
  • feel free
  • footloose and fancy-free
  • for free
  • get off (scot-free)
  • home free
  • make free with
  • of one’s own accord (free will)

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


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