free ride


: a benefit obtained at another's expense or without the usual cost or effort
… a group of students who have been assigned to do a report where only one student cares, does all the work and the others go along for a free rideRoger T. Johnson and David W. Johnson
also : soft or easy treatment
Generally speaking, the press has given Jacobson a free ride. Spy
: an arrangement (such as a scholarship) providing a student with tuition at no cost
athletes getting a free ride at college
College officials hope that the idea of a free ride to a new engineering school with lofty ambitions will attract a highly accomplished student body …Jeffrey Mervis
free ride intransitive verb
free rider noun

Examples of free ride in a Sentence

The state university offered him a free ride for all four years of college—his football scholarship would cover tuition, room and board, and other expenses. companies getting a free ride at the taxpayer's expense

Word History

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of free ride was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near free ride

Cite this Entry

“Free ride.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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