free

adjective
\ˈfrē \
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 5 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

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

c : disentangle, clear

2 obsolete : banish

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Other Words from free

Adjective

freeness \ˈfrē-nəs \ noun

Verb

freer 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

Sarri's Napoli was a team that attacked relentlessly with free-flowing ball movement and constant running, just like City under Guardiola. Steve Douglas, chicagotribune.com, "Chelsea replace Conte with former Napoli boss Sarri," 14 July 2018 Swing by any of the restaurants below to indulge in a plate of free or discounted French fries on July 13. PEOPLE.com, "How to Get Free McDonald's Fries and More Deals on Friday for National French Fry Day," 13 July 2018 Vudu also offers a selection of movies that are free with the inclusion of ads. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "Is Netflix best bet for cord-cutters or should you consider Amazon, Hulu or Vudu?," 13 July 2018 During the summer, the Recreation District has agreed to let everyone onto the beach for free. CBS News, "Locals residents and state officials battle over access to public California beach," 13 July 2018 If neither of those two conditions applies, then a player would be free to sign with any of the Alliance’s eight teams. Stephen Ruiz, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando's Alliance of American Football team learns how it will procure players," 13 July 2018 Nearly 200 free-roaming horses died this spring in a stock pond near Gray Mountain on the western side of the Navajo Reservation. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Volunteers care for Navajo wild horses during drought, despite overpopulation concerns," 13 July 2018 Now that states are free to craft laws legalizing sports gambling, the latest question is whether to enter the potential $9 billion mobile-betting market. Chris Kirkham, WSJ, "States Weigh Bets on Mobile Sports Gambling," 13 July 2018 Mike Williams INDIANAPOLIS -- Ben Stevens thought about breaking free for more yardage as time sped off the clock at North Central High School on Friday night. Rich Torress, Indianapolis Star, "North extends winning streak to four in IFCA All-Star game," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Some historians think the large circle of free-standing stones was once a solar calendar used to track the seasons. Justin Grieser, Washington Post, "Summer solstice is Thursday — 5 things to know about the longest day of the year," 20 June 2018 That money could be reinvested the way the Europeans do it: in health care for all, subsidized childcare, free higher education, and other things that would make Americans’ lives better. Lindsay Koshgarian, Fortune, "Trump’s Complaints About NATO Defense Spending Don’t Add Up," 12 July 2018 Izzett is understandably left crying and upset her sister sacrificed herself for Izzett and the ,ingdom, but the character Garvin (Finn Russell) reminds Izzett she's been given a new chance to live, free of the giant. Danny Atkinson, Courant Community, "Epoch Arts Opens Summer Season," 2 July 2018 In Virginia’s 9th and 6th Congressional Districts, Anthony Flaccavento and Jennifer Lewis are running on platforms that include support for a $15 minimum wage, free higher education, and Medicare for All. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Give the Left a Chance," 27 June 2018 Federer is a delicate, brush-stroking impressionist and Nadal is a dogged, free-wheeling abstract expressionist. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "'Strokes of Genius' Documentary Commemorates the Iconic Federer-Nadal '08 Wimbledon Final," 26 June 2018 Some historians think the large circle of free-standing stones was once a solar calendar used to track the seasons. Justin Grieser, Washington Post, "Summer solstice is Thursday — 5 things to know about the longest day of the year," 20 June 2018 Some historians think the large circle of free-standing stones was once a solar calendar used to track the seasons. Justin Grieser, Washington Post, "Summer solstice is Thursday — 5 things to know about the longest day of the year," 20 June 2018 Some historians think the large circle of free-standing stones was once a solar calendar used to track the seasons. Justin Grieser, Washington Post, "Summer solstice is Thursday — 5 things to know about the longest day of the year," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yancy tells Teen Vogue that no one has told José of Darlin’s exact location or when she might be freed from immigration custody. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 Of those who did provide victim-impact statements, many were adamant that the juvenile killers should never be freed. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "After 26 years working with at-risk teens, can a Philly couple forgive the one who killed their son?," 13 July 2018 But his greatest escape came Tuesday, when he and 11 other members of a youth soccer team, along with their coach, were all finally freed from the Tham Luang Cave complex in northern Thailand, after an ordeal stretching more than two weeks. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 K Updated, 07/10/2018, 10:55 a.m.: The AP reports that the remaining SEALs have been freed. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "All 12 Thai Soccer Players and Their Coach Have Been Rescued," 10 July 2018 Police chief confirms the first two Thai boys have been freed from the cave. NBC News, "First boys emerge from Thailand cave as rescue mission enters final act," 8 July 2018 His son helped him set up a Facebook page days after he was freed in the back of the newspaper’s aging offices. Timothy Mclaughlin, WIRED, "How Facebook’s Rise Fueled Chaos and Confusion in Myanmar," 6 July 2018 Round out things with bread and cheese and you’ll be freed up to throw together casual dishes, such as a giant salad or on-the-fly frittata, with little to no planning required. Carla Lalli Music, Bon Appetit, "If You’re Gonna Cook on Vacation, Bring These Kitchen Tools with You," 28 June 2018 McDaniels’ family smiled and waved at him from the courtroom gallery on word that he would be freed. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Prosecutors drop charges against another man tied to corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts," 25 June 2018

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

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

Adverb

see free entry 1

Verb

see free entry 1

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Statistics for free

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for free

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

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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

verb

English Language Learners Definition of free (Entry 2 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

adverb

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

: in a free way

: without charge : at no cost

free

adjective
\ˈfrē \
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 \
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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Comments on free

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evasion of direct action or statement

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