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

In the year and a half since Massachusetts went to all-electronic tolling, some 1.3 million cars have gotten a free ride because the new system couldn’t read their license plates. Adam Vaccaro,, "1.3 million cars have slipped through Mass. toll gantries," 24 May 2018 SoberRide Lyft will be offering free rides to deter impaired driving during the holiday as part of the 2018 Independence Day SoberRide program, which runs from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Here’s your July 4th traffic and transit guide," 29 June 2018 Now, those fighting cancer in Cincinnati can get free rides to and from treatment courtesy of Lyft and the American Cancer Society. Mallorie Sullivan,, "Lyft now offering free rides to Cincinnati cancer patients," 19 June 2018 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

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

24 Oct 2018

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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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by force of circumstances

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