free

adjective
\ ˈfrē How to pronounce free (audio) \
freer; freest

Definition of free

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not costing or charging anything a free school a free ticket
2a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen setting the slave free
b : enjoying civil and political liberty free citizens
c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination This is a free country.
d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another You are free to do whatever you want.
3a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself a player free to negotiate a contract with any team
b : determined by the choice of the actor or performer free actions
c : made, done, or given voluntarily or spontaneously gave his free consent
4a : relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome free from pain a speech free of political rhetoric often used in combination error-free
b : not bound, confined, or detained by force The prisoner is now free.
5a : having no trade restrictions duty-free imports
b : not subject to government regulation free competition
c of foreign exchange : not subject to restriction or official control
6a : having no obligations (as to work) or commitments I'll be free this evening
b : not taken up with commitments or obligations a free evening
7 : having a scope not restricted by qualification a free variable
8a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded free to leave
b : not being used or occupied waved with his free hand
c : not hampered or restricted in its normal operation
9a : not fastened the free end of the rope
b : not confined to a particular position or place in twelve-tone music, no note is wholly free for it must hold its place in the series— J. L. Stewart
c : capable of moving or turning in any direction a free particle
d : performed without apparatus free tumbling
e : done with artificial aids (such as pitons) used only for protection against falling and not for support a free climb
10a : not parsimonious free spending
b : outspoken is free in his criticism
c : availing oneself of something without stint she's very free with her money
d : frank, open
e : 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
f : licentious inexcusably free talk before the ladies
11a(1) : not united with, attached to, combined with, or mixed with something else : separate free ores a free surface of a bodily part
(2) : freestanding a free column
b : chemically uncombined free oxygen free acids
c : not permanently attached but able to move about a free electron in a metal
d : capable of being used alone as a meaningful linguistic form the word hats is a free form — compare bound entry 1 sense 7
12a : not literal or exact free translation
b : not restricted by or conforming to conventional forms free skating
13 : favorable used of a wind blowing from a direction more than six points from dead ahead
14 : not allowing slavery was admitted to the Union as a free state
15 : open to all comers that most pleasurable of Anglo-Saxon pastimes, a free fight— Winston Churchill
for free
: without charge

free

adverb

Definition of free (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : in a free manner
2 : without charge
3 : with the wind more than six points from dead ahead sailing free

free

verb
freed; freeing; frees

Definition of free (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to be free
b : to relieve or rid of what restrains, confines, restricts, or embarrasses free a person from debt often used with up free up space on the hard drive
2 obsolete : banish

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Other Words from free

Adjective

freeness \ ˈfrē-​nəs How to pronounce free (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for free

Adjective

free, independent, sovereign, autonomous mean not subject to the rule or control of another. free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decisions. you're free to do as you like independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies. the colony's struggle to become independent sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere. separate and sovereign armed services autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government. in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous

Verb

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses. freed the animals from their cages release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation. released his anger on a punching bag liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty. liberated their country from the tyrant emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination. labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery manumit implies emancipation from slavery. the document manumitted the slaves

Can Something Be "For free?"

The word free is often encountered on the heels of the word for, and this combination sets some people’s teeth on edge. The main objection to the phrase for free is that, in this instance, free functions as an adverb rather than a noun and therefore should not be in the intimate company of the preposition for. Following this line of reasoning, a more correct phrasing would be to say that something is offered for nothing, for no charge, or some other combination of preposition + noun. Unfortunately for critics of the expression, English users do not agree. Despite its recent adoption in the mid-20th century and its informality, for free is in widespread use and is generally accepted in standard speech and writing.

Examples of free in a Sentence

Adjective They're giving out free tickets to the show. The school newsletter is free. After 10 years in jail, he was finally a free man. The animal struggled to get free of the trap. His legs became caught in the net, and he was unable to get himself free. Adverb The gate opened, and the animals ran free. Buy one, get one free. Verb The gunman freed two of the hostages. The animals were freed from their cages. His legs became tangled in the net, and he was unable to free himself. He was unable to free his legs from the net. The animal struggled to free itself from the trap. Hiring an assistant has freed him to spend more time with his family. She encourages her students to free their imaginations.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Beyond Mather’s culturally insensitive remarks, Ahmed, the club’s union rep, did not like hearing the open discussion of service-time manipulation, in which teams keep prospects in the minors to delay free agency. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Tyler Clippard hopes to bring leadership, durability to D-Backs’ bullpen," 27 Feb. 2021 The Patriots are receiving a further roster boost even before free agency begins as all eight of the club’s league-high eight opt outs are preparing to play in 2021, a league source confirmed Saturday. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "All eight Patriots who opted out of 2020 season returning in 2021," 27 Feb. 2021 Another factor for Uzomah -- at least before free agency and the draft -- is the Bengals’ lack of depth at tight end. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "C.J. Uzomah working to put injury behind him," 27 Feb. 2021 The Dolphins need to add standout receivers in free agency and the draft to bolster the offense. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Deen: Watson or Tagovailoa? Here are 10 offseason tips for the Miami Dolphins | Analysis," 27 Feb. 2021 Durant had surgery, signed with Brooklyn in free agency in the summer 2019 and missed all of last season rehabbing. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Kevin Durant will miss more time with hamstring injury," 27 Feb. 2021 The Minnesota Vikings are not known for making a big splash in free agency. Steve Silverman, Forbes, "NFL Draft 2021: Defensive Linemen Will Be On Minnesota Vikings Radar," 27 Feb. 2021 In this case, baseball could borrow from the NHL, in which free agency can be determined by service time or by age. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "MLB truth, lies and videotape: A telling week for a budding star and a team president," 26 Feb. 2021 That would allow the Twins to extend his service time before free agency to seven years rather than six. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Twins' Alex Kirilloff eager to play again after 'long summer'," 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Operations at the Dollins Avenue kitchen, which did not have a dining room, won’t come back online until the largest free-standing White Castle opens this spring in the O-Town West development on Daryl Carter Parkway near Disney, Richardson said. Austin Fuller, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando’s hamburger hankering shuts down White Castle ghost kitchen," 25 Feb. 2021 Founder Tiana Gawlak has been testing out the innovative business model of a free-standing dessert shop in a high-traffic location without an actual storefront. Zareen Syed, chicagotribune.com, "Burr Ridge’s self-service dessert ATM — The Bakery Box — fits right into pandemic times, looks to expand to more locations," 24 Feb. 2021 The state possesses hundreds of remarkable, free-flowing springs. Kevin Spear, USA TODAY, "'They won't have to separate from ... family': Florida attraction to get glass-bottom boat for wheelchairs," 25 Jan. 2021 The coldest town in the state now contains another curiosity: the only free-standing ice bar in America. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Transit memorial, pen pals, White House doctor: News from around our 50 states," 26 Jan. 2021 Transforming digital pictures into free-standing sculpture, Wickerham and Lomax reveal a yearning to escape virtual reality and live in the real world. Washington Post, "In the galleries: A towering exhibit offers a new definition of domestic life," 1 Jan. 2021 The stage, no longer the rag-tag setup of our dirt lot beginnings, was a glorious free-standing structure with LED screens and beautiful washes of light against the Spanish Mission-style Del Mar Arena. Nancy Laturno Writer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Looking back at 2020 in the arts: Nancy Laturno: ‘We can do the impossible’," 27 Dec. 2020 Unwind in the luxurious master bathroom's free-standing tub or the covered porch in back. Star Tribune, "Home plan: Compact Craftsman hits all the right notes," 25 Dec. 2020 The shop has to operate from a free-standing business rather than an in-line space, partly for security reasons. Mike Nolan, chicagotribune.com, "Tinley Park to tweak rules on recreational marijuana sales after vendors couldn’t find suitable locations," 18 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Meanwhile, the Browns will probably lose defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi to free agency. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "What about J.J. Watt? Nick Chubb’s contract? Future of Rashard Higgins? Terry’s Talkin’ Browns," 28 Feb. 2021 With the Nuggets losing Torrey Craig, Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant to free agency in the offseason — players known for their defensive contributions — Porter took it on himself to fill those gaps following criticism of his own contribution. Sam Lane, USA TODAY, "'I got tired of people saying I don’t play defense': Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. making strides," 26 Feb. 2021 Conventional wisdom is that agent Scott Boras will take him to free agency at that point. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Evan Help Us: Will Joey Gallo still be around when the Rangers are ready to compete again?," 17 Feb. 2021 Last week, President Biden declared a federal disaster for the Navajo Nation, a move that will free up additional funds for a tribe that has lost more than 1,000 members to the virus. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The Mashpee Wampanoag had long held COVID at bay. Then, tragedy struck," 10 Feb. 2021 These protests, part of a regional movement to overthrow autocratic governments known as the Arab Spring, were a high-water mark for the idea that the internet would free the world. Noam Cohen, Wired, "What the Arab Spring Can Teach Us About GameStop," 29 Jan. 2021 State officials are reserving 15,000 Moderna doses for the event, which will free up the sites in Brooklyn Center and Blaine to only serve seniors this week. Mohamed Ibrahim, Star Tribune, "Minnesota tweaks vaccination efforts amid questions of pace," 25 Jan. 2021 Despite a trade deal, struck by Britain and the European Union on Christmas Eve, promises once made by Brexit campaigners that leaving the bloc would free companies from needless bureaucracy now sound like a macabre joke. New York Times, "For Some Scottish Seafood Businesses, Brexit Could Be a Death Knell," 13 Jan. 2021 Barcelona had little chance of recovering when Messi swung his right arm toward the head of an Athletic player while trying to free himself. Chronicle News Services, SFChronicle.com, "Messi sent off as Athletic beats Barca in Spanish Super Cup," 17 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'free.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of free

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Adverb

1559, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for free

Adjective, Adverb, and Verb

Middle English, from Old English frēo; akin to Old High German frī free, Welsh rhydd, Sanskrit priya own, dear

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Time Traveler for free

Time Traveler

The first known use of free was before the 12th century

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Statistics for free

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Free.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for free

free

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of free

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not costing any money
: not held as a slave or prisoner
: not physically held by something

free

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of free (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a free way
: without charge : at no cost

free

verb

English Language Learners Definition of free (Entry 3 of 3)

: to release (a person or animal) from a prison, cage, etc.
: to release (someone or something) from being physically held or blocked
: to cause or allow (someone or something) to stop having or being affected by something unpleasant, painful, or unwanted

free

adjective
\ ˈfrē How to pronounce free (audio) \
freer\ ˈfrē-​ər \; freest\ ˈfrē-​əst \

Kids Definition of free

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : given without charge a free ticket
2 : having liberty : not being a slave or prisoner free citizens
3 : not controlled by a harsh ruler or laws a free country
4 : not physically held by something … his utmost efforts could lift the gate free.— Dick King-Smith, Pigs Might Fly
5 : not having or suffering from something unpleasant, unwanted, or painful free from worry
6 : not held back by fear or uncertainty Feel free to ask questions.
7 : not blocked The road was free of traffic.
8 : not required to be doing something See me when you're free.
9 : not used or occupied a free seat
10 : not combined free oxygen

Other Words from free

freely adverb

free

verb
freed; freeing

Kids Definition of free (Entry 2 of 3)

: to let go or set free

free

adverb

Kids Definition of free (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : in a free manner : freely They let their dog run free.
2 : without charge Buy two, get one free.

free

adjective
\ ˈfrē How to pronounce free (audio) \
freer; freest

Medical Definition of free

1a : relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome free from pain
b : not bound or confined by force upon opening the skull a considerable amount of free blood is noted— H. G. Armstrong
2a(1) : not united with, attached to, combined with, or mixed with something else a free surface of a bodily part
(2) : having the bare axon exposed in tissue a free nerve ending
b : not chemically combined free calcium
c : not permanently attached but able to move about a free electron in a metal
3 : having all living connections severed before removal to another site a free graft research…in free flap transfers— B. R. Alford

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free

adjective

Legal Definition of free

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen
b : enjoying civil and political liberty a free people
c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent StatesDeclaration of Independence
d : not subject to the control or domination of another
2 : made or done as a matter of choice and right : not compelled or restricted no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereofU.S. Constitution amend. I a free and voluntary confession
3 : relieved from or lacking a burden (as a lien or other encumbrance on title) a buyer in ordinary course of business…takes free of a security interest created by the buyer's sellerUniform Commercial Code
4 : not bound, confined, or detained by force free on bail
5a : having no trade restrictions
b : not subject to government regulation
c of foreign exchange : not subject to restriction or official control
6 : not costing or charging anything
for free
: without charge

Other Words from free

freely adverb
freed; freeing

Legal Definition of free (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause to be free
2 : to relieve or rid of what constrains, confines, restricts, or burdens

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More from Merriam-Webster on free

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for free

Nglish: Translation of free for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of free for Arabic Speakers

Comments on free

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