free·​dom | \ ˈfrē-dəm How to pronounce freedom (audio) \

Definition of freedom

1 : the quality or state of being free: such as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous freedom from care
d : unrestricted use gave him the freedom of their home
e : ease, facility spoke the language with freedom
f : the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken answered with freedom
g : improper familiarity
h : boldness of conception or execution
2a : a political right

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Choose the Right Synonym for freedom

freedom, liberty, license mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. freedom has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated. freedom of the press liberty suggests release from former restraint or compulsion. the released prisoner had difficulty adjusting to his new liberty license implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom. freedom without responsibility may degenerate into license

Examples of freedom in a Sentence

Or Bugs would do the impossible by jumping out of the frame and landing on the drawing board of the cartoonist who was at work creating him. This freedom to transcend the laws of basic physics, to hop around in time and space, and to skip from one dimension to another has long been a crucial aspect of imaginative poetry. — Billy Collins, Wall Street Journal, 28-29 June 2008 I can see that my choices were never truly mine alone—and that that is how it should be, that to assert otherwise is to chase after a sorry sort of freedom. — Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father, (1995) 2004 It's the beginning of summer.  … For many adults who are really closet kids, this means that their blood hums with a hint of freedom — Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 18 June 2001 He thinks children these days have too much freedom. She has the freedom to do as she likes. a political prisoner struggling to win his freedom
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Recent Examples on the Web To defuse the tension, the regime agreed to meet with 30 of the protesters to discuss their demands for freedom of expression. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Cuba’s San Isidro Uprising," 20 Dec. 2020 The medium is ideally suited to coronavirus lockdown, when the boundaries of the physical world contract and the imagination strains for freedom. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "The Best Video Games of 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 The Supreme Court's increasingly fervent support for religious freedom was extended Thursday to three Muslim men placed on a no-fly list as punishment for refusing to become government informants. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court says Muslim men wrongly placed on no-fly list can sue for money damages," 11 Dec. 2020 Yes, conservatives have the best arguments: for economic freedom, limited constitutional government, and a principled, but unsentimental, foreign policy. Peter J. Travers, National Review, "A Small, Efficacious Helm," 8 Dec. 2020 But after the state had a consulting firm assess the district, it was determined that the district wasn't ready for such freedom. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | EDITORIAL: Dollarway decision near," 7 Dec. 2020 Women’s demands for reproductive freedom and their calls for greater equality threaten to upend a power structure that has held since the fall of Communism. New York Times, "In Poland, Protests Over Abortion Ban Could Revolutionize Politics," 7 Dec. 2020 The Liberty Counsel, legal advocates for religious freedom, praised the decision as a vindication of the rights of counselors to offer treatment that was in keeping with their principles. Rafael Olmeda,, "No one can stop anti-gay therapy in Florida — for now. How LGBTQ advocates are rethinking their battle strategy.," 6 Dec. 2020 Biden should then appoint a high-profile journalist with a record of defending press rights to a new role: special presidential envoy for press freedom. Washington Post, "Trump is leaving press freedom in tatters. Biden can take these bold steps to repair the damage.," 6 Dec. 2020

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for freedom

see free entry 1

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Time Traveler for freedom

Time Traveler

The first known use of freedom was before the 12th century

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Statistics for freedom

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Freedom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for freedom


How to pronounce freedom (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of freedom

: the power to do what you want to do : the ability to move or act freely
: the state of not being a slave, prisoner, etc.
: the state of not having or being affected by something unpleasant, painful, or unwanted


free·​dom | \ ˈfrē-dəm How to pronounce freedom (audio) \

Kids Definition of freedom

1 : the condition of having liberty The slaves won their freedom.
2 : ability to move or act as desired freedom of choice freedom of movement
3 : release from something unpleasant freedom from care
4 : the quality of being very frank : candor spoke with freedom
5 : a political right freedom of speech



Legal Definition of freedom

1 : the quality or state of being free: as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released from something onerous
2a : a political or civil right

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Comments on freedom

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