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noun li·cense \ˈlī-sən(t)s\

Simple Definition of license

  • : 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

  1. 1 a :  permission to act b :  freedom of action

  2. 2 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

  3. 3 a :  freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility b :  disregard for standards of personal conduct :  licentiousness

  4. 4 :  deviation from fact, form, or rule by an artist or writer for the sake of the effect gained

licensed adjective

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.

Variants of license

or li·cence play \ˈlī-sən(t)s\

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

Synonym Discussion of license

freedom, liberty, license mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. freedom has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated <freedom of the press>. liberty suggests release from former restraint or compulsion <the released prisoner had difficulty adjusting to his new liberty>. license implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom <freedom without responsibility may degenerate into license>.



verb li·cense

Simple Definition of license

  • : 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

Full Definition of license

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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to issue a license to b :  to permit or authorize especially by formal license

  3. 2 :  to give permission or consent to :  allow

li·cens·able play \-sən(t)-sə-bəl\ adjective
li·cen·sor play \-sər, ˌli-sən-ˈsȯr\ also li·cens·er \-sər\ noun

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.

15th Century

First Known Use of license

15th century

Variants of license

also licence

Medical Dictionary


noun li·cense

Medical Definition of license

  1. :  a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful <a license to practice medicine>

  2. 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

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

Seen and Heard

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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