free rein


Definition of free rein 

: unrestricted liberty of action or decision

Examples of free rein in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

China’s leaders are inclined to tamp down instability, and have balked at giving market forces free rein in the equity markets. Shen Hong, WSJ, "Foreign Investors Invade China’s Cozy Treasury Market," 19 Nov. 2018 In a criminal investigation, the FBI would have free rein to talk to any potential witnesses or pursue any evidence necessary to determine whether criminal charges should be filed. Cindy Otis, Teen Vogue, "The FBI Investigation of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Explained," 3 Oct. 2018 During a typical criminal investigation, the FBI would essentially have free rein. German Lopez, Vox, "The FBI’s limited investigation into the Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations, explained," 3 Oct. 2018 The groundwork and the aesthetic for our collaboration was built many, many years ago, so that Zaldy has free rein in terms of direction. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Zaldy Is the Designer RuPaul Wouldn’t Go Anywhere Without," 28 June 2018 But entrepreneurs’ and venture capitalists’ concerns are striking because for a long while afterwards, startups had free rein. The Economist, "American tech giants are making life tough for startups," 31 May 2018 But do not slide back into an atmosphere where businesses have free rein to discriminate. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, "It’s okay to hate Trump staffers, but let them eat their cake (and cheese plate)," 25 June 2018 In articles and speeches as well as formal opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has been a leading critic of Chevron deference, the courts’ practice of giving agencies free rein to interpret their own statutory authority. David B. Rivkin Jr. And Andrew M. Grossman, WSJ, "A Champion of Constitutional Safeguards," 9 July 2018 My response to uncertainty is to give my anxiety free rein: Make bad jokes in the morning, cry in the afternoon, and watch TV in the evenings. Neda Semnani,, "You have more in common with your partner's exes than you might think," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'free rein.' 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 rein

1640, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for free rein

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of free rein was in 1640

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to make faulty or ineffective

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