free ride


Definition of free ride 

1 : 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 ride —Roger T. Johnson and David W. Johnson also : soft or easy treatment Generally speaking, the press has given Jacobson a free ride. Spy

2 : 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

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Other words from free ride

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

Recent Examples on the Web

The league enjoyed a free ride on glib patriotic display for more than 60 years, and now the bill is coming due. Charles P. Pierce,, "Trump Has Made the NFL His Punching Bag. The League’s Best Response Is Defiance," 9 July 2018 Denver is offering free rides to suburban light rail stations. Daniel Sperling, Scientific American, "Can Ride-Hailing Improve Public Transportation Instead of Undercutting It?," 5 July 2018 For example, riders taking advantage of free rides weren’t securely locking the bikes after completing a trip. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Theft and destruction of dockless bikes a growing problem," 1 July 2018 Economics ministry spokesman Rasmus Ruuda told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the new bus scheme, which will be rolled out from July 1, will give Estonians a chance to take a free ride within municipal bus lines. Fox News, "Estonia launches free bus travel to boost county economics," 6 June 2018 Trump, however, sees NATO as yet another example of a bad deal for the U.S., where allies free ride and take advantage of America’s coffers. Tessa Berenson / Brussels, Time, "Europe Worries as President Trump Heads to NATO Summit," 10 July 2018 Ride sharing giant Lyft is offering cancer patients free rides to and from their treatments in 10 major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Denver, St. Louis, and Atlanta. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Lyft Is Offering Free Rides to Cancer Patients in Major U.S. Cities," 21 June 2018 Participants get a commemorative cup with free refills of soft drinks, VIP seating for fireworks, one free ride exit pass to skip the line during the day and an invitation to an exclusive foam dance party. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "More bang for buck at Six Flags 4th Fest," 18 June 2018 The Sunset Trip expands on the success of the PickUp, a bright-yellow hop-on/hop-off trolley that offers free rides along Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. Lisa Beebe, Los Angeles Magazine, "WeHo Hopes Its Sunset Strip Trolley Service Will Be a Hit With the Bus Averse," 1 June 2018

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

1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for free ride

Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for free ride

The first known use of free ride was in 1882

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More Definitions for free ride

free ride


English Language Learners Definition of free ride

: special treatment that involves giving away something that is valuable or expensive

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an open space surrounded by woods

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