1 of 2


free·​will ˈfrē-ˌwil How to pronounce freewill (audio)

free will

2 of 2


: voluntary choice or decision
I do this of my own free will
: freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention

Example Sentences

Adjective a freewill confession of guilt made by the suspect during police interrogation our office staff made a freewill offering for UNESCO Noun He argues that all humans have free will. all of the workers at the homeless shelter are unpaid and are there of their own free will
Recent Examples on the Web
Coach for Men captures the never-resting energy of the city that never sleeps and the freewill spontaneity of all those who call it home. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 All, too, will take place without a live audience and include links for freewill donations to nonprofits supporting Cleveland-area musicians and musical programs during coronavirus. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 2 June 2020 The free community event is sponsored by Spiritual Church of Escondido; freewill offering will be accepted. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2019 Admission for the event sponsored by the Friends of the Rancho Bernardo Library is free; freewill donations will be accepted for musicians. Linda Mcintosh,, 30 Apr. 2018 There is no charge for this concert; freewill donations for musicians are encouraged. Linda Mcintosh,, 9 Apr. 2018 The series’ third and final concert holds chamber works by French composers of Les Six. 4 p.m. Sunday, Southminster Presbyterian Church, 916 E. Central Road, Arlington Heights; freewill donation; 847-902-0733. John Von Rhein,, 1 June 2017 Freewill offerings will benefit the Georgetown Ministry Center, which aids service-resistant, chronically homeless individuals and advocates for the homeless. Gerri Marmer, Washington Post, 5 May 2017
Our free will, that’s what will kill us. The Indianapolis Star, 22 Sep. 2022 Your free will? Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Dec. 2022 Somewhere deep within the gargantuan proportions of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony there has always resided a bundle of tensions or even contradictions — between form and content, art and life, fate and free will, the grotesque and the beautiful. Jeremy Eichler,, 21 Oct. 2022 God granted us free will. Rabbi Steve Leder, CBS News, 17 Apr. 2022 Chubais resigned of his own free will. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 Does anyone have free will? IEEE Spectrum, 18 Dec. 2021 For years, Purdue and the Sacklers argued that people become addicted to drugs of their own free will, and that the company—and the family that owned it—should not be held responsible for the rash decisions of others. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Jebb also added that junk advertising may undermine people’s free will due to its influence. Emma Ogao, ABC News, 18 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freewill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1535, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of freewill was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near freewill

Cite this Entry

“Freewill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
free·​will ˌfrē-ˌwil How to pronounce freewill (audio)
: of or done by one's own free will : voluntary
a freewill offering

free will

2 of 2 noun
: one's own choice or decision

More from Merriam-Webster on freewill

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!