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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Labour reveals a fondness for universal freedom in scrapping prescription charges and university tuition fees and promising free broadband for all. The Economist, "Whoever wins Britain’s election, the state will expand," 30 Nov. 2019 Thirty years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, freedom in Eurasia remains fragile. Melinda Zemper,, "VOA Eurasia division chief warns of Russian disinformation at VOA Museum talk," 29 Nov. 2019 Pro-democracy protesters in central Hong Kong celebrated U.S. lawmakers and President Donald Trump Thursday night, thanking them for passing a bill that promised to punish officials who restrict freedoms in the territory. Washington Post, "Hong Kong protestors wave ‘Swole Trump’ posters at Thanksgiving rally," 29 Nov. 2019 The case was initially thrown out in 2012 by a federal court, which ruled that his privacy did not outweigh the public interest or freedom of the press, Agence France-Presse (AFP) had reported. Fox News, "German court rules convicted murderer has 'right to be forgotten' in online searches," 28 Nov. 2019 Despite the setback, Beijing may now have the freedom to play the long game with Hong Kong. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "China Condemns U.S. Over Hong Kong. That Won’t Stop Trade Talks.," 28 Nov. 2019 Excessive gerrymandering that helped fuel the rise of the freedom caucus and the Tea Party. CBS News, "Transcript: Senator Michael Bennet talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 27 Nov. 2019 For women reentering society after incarceration, housing can make the difference between a life spent in freedom or behind bars. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "For women returning home from incarceration, housing remains a key issue," 27 Nov. 2019 Scientists believe piping virtual pastoral settings into the animals’ vision is the next in a series of quality-of-life improvements for dairy cows that includes robotic milkers that let cows roam further and have more freedom. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "We Should Explain Why This Cow Is Wearing a VR Headset," 26 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about freedom

Time Traveler for freedom

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for freedom

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Freedom.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on freedom

What made you want to look up freedom? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


heavy with or as if with moisture

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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