noun \ˈlī-sən(t)s\

: an official document, card, etc., that gives you permission to do, use, or have something

: freedom to act however you want to

: the freedom of an artist, writer, etc., to change the way something is described or shown in order to produce a work of art

Full Definition of LICENSE

a :  permission to act
b :  freedom of action
a :  a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful
b :  a document, plate, or tag evidencing a license granted
c :  a grant by the holder of a copyright or patent to another of any of the rights embodied in the copyright or patent short of an assignment of all rights
a :  freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility
b :  disregard for standards of personal conduct :  licentiousness
:  deviation from fact, form, or rule by an artist or writer for the sake of the effect gained
licensed adjective

Variants of LICENSE

li·cense or li·cence \ˈlī-sən(t)s\

Examples of LICENSE

  1. The restaurant's owner applied for a license to sell liquor.
  2. His job as a reporter gives him license to go anywhere and ask anything.

Origin of LICENSE

Middle English, from Anglo-French licence, from Latin licentia, from licent-, licens, present participle of licēre to be permitted
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite



: to give official permission to (someone or something) to do or use something : to give a license to (someone or something)

: to give official permission for (something)

: to allow the use of (a name, property, etc.) through a formal agreement

li·censed also li·cencedli·cens·ing also li·cenc·ing

Full Definition of LICENSE

transitive verb
a :  to issue a license to
b :  to permit or authorize especially by formal license
:  to give permission or consent to :  allow
li·cens·able \-sən(t)-sə-bəl\ adjective
li·cen·sor \-sər, ˌli-sən-ˈsr\ also li·cens·er \-sər\ noun

Variants of LICENSE

license also licence

Examples of LICENSE

  1. The restaurant has now been licensed to sell liquor.
  2. a new drug licensed by the government
  3. The company licensed its name to others.

First Known Use of LICENSE

15th century


noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of LICENSE

: a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful <a license to practice medicine>
license or chiefly British licence transitive verb, li·censed or chiefly British li·cenced li·cens·ing or chiefly British li·cenc·ing

Variants of LICENSE

li·cense or chiefly British li·cence \ˈlīs-ən(t)s\


Next Word in the Dictionary: license bond
Previous Word in the Dictionary: lice
All Words Near: license

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up license? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More