free·​hand | \ ˈfrē-ˌhand How to pronounce freehand (audio) \

Definition of freehand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: done without mechanical aids or devices freehand drawing

free hand

\ ˈfrē-ˈhand How to pronounce free hand (audio) \

Definition of free hand (Entry 2 of 2)

: freedom of action or decision

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from freehand


freehand adverb

Synonyms for freehand

Synonyms: Noun

authorization, freedom, latitude, license (or licence), run

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of freehand in a Sentence


She took a course in freehand drawing.


gave him free hand in managing the club

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On set, 19-year-old artist Chella Man felt right at home in the second floor bathroom painted by Keith Haring; both Haring and Chella use a fluid, often abstract yet heavily emotive, freehand style to express themselves. Sean Bennett, Teen Vogue, "How the Artists and Activists from Marc Jacobs' Pride 2018 Campaign Use Fashion to Show Express Identity," 21 June 2018 And throughout, all kinds of brushes and tools enable an entire palette’s worth of colors to flow, stutter, twist, suffuse and fold, while freehand additions à la de Kooning — and Mr. Green’s earlier work, as well — occasionally flit about. New York Times, "Art and Museums in NYC This Week," 16 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The president’s attitude has essentially given North Korea a free hand in developing and testing its short-range weapons, analysts said. Choe Sang-hun,, "North Korea says it tested new type of missile, further enhancing its arsenal," 11 Aug. 2019 Drivers need a free hand for the 8-inch touchscreen, of course. Staff And News Service Reports, The Mercury News, "Photos: General Motors unveils its new Corvette Stingray in Tustin," 20 July 2019 Those rules were replaced in August by new classified guidance intended to give the military a freer hand with cyberattacks, but details of the new policy have remained largely shrouded in secrecy. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "U.S. Launched Cyberattacks on Iran," 23 June 2019 Place the free hand on top of the other, interlocking your fingers. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN, "Women are less likely than men to receive CPR in public. A new product is designed to change that," 5 June 2019 Rejecting it, Republicans took full advantage of the free hand Democrats had foolishly left them. Fred Barnes, WSJ, "The Downside of Anti-Trump Rage," 22 Jan. 2019 Although Zaidi mostly has a free hand to shape the team, Baer will continue to have a voice in decisions involving on-field personnel at a critical juncture. Henry Schulman,, "Larry Baer is ‘truly sorry’ and coming back to the Giants. What’s waiting for him?," 29 June 2019 Specifically, some analysts worry that a continued oil rally would lead to a quicker-than-expected increase in consumer prices, which could give the Federal Reserve an even freer hand to push up interest rates. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Sharp Oil Moves Diverge From Stock Market, Worrying Some Investors," 25 July 2018 Fighters from the Syrian National Army, now Turkey’s proxy militia, fired their rifles into the air at Afrin’s main roundabout, snapping selfies with their free hands. The New York Review of Books, "Molly Crabapple," 23 May 2019

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


1841, in the meaning defined above


1890, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about freehand

Statistics for freehand

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for freehand

The first known use of freehand was in 1841

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for freehand



English Language Learners Definition of freehand

: done without special tools or instruments
free·​hand | \ ˈfrē-ˌhand How to pronounce freehand (audio) \

Kids Definition of freehand

: done without mechanical aids a freehand drawing

More from Merriam-Webster on freehand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with freehand

Spanish Central: Translation of freehand

Comments on freehand

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


to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
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!