free·​hand | \ ˈfrē-ˌhand \

Definition of freehand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: done without mechanical aids or devices freehand drawing

free hand

\ ˈfrē-ˈhand \

Definition of free hand (Entry 2 of 2)

: freedom of action or decision

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Other Words from freehand


freehand adverb

Synonyms for freehand

Synonyms: Noun

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

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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

Since the 2013 military coup, Mr. Sisi has given the country’s security forces a free hand to detain political opponents and snuff out dissent. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Eight Years After Egypt’s Uprising, a New Autocrat Is Determined Not to Permit a Sequel," 25 Jan. 2019 The Trump administration, while pulling out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, demanded that Iran halt its support for militant groups in the region—appearing to give its allies a freer hand in confronting Iranian allies in the Middle East. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Yemeni Forces Close In on Rebel-Held Port City," 29 May 2018 Unlike previous Saudi monarchs who took cautious, incremental steps to reform the country, King Salman has granted his 32-year-old son and heir, the crown prince, a free hand to usher in dramatic moves that are reshaping the country. Aya Batrawy,, "As driving ban lifts, Saudi women at center of change," 23 June 2018 Features hundreds of home and garden businesses, indoor landscape displays, the largest plant sales in Clark County, local farmers market vendors and a variety of free hands-on activities for the whole family. Corey Sheldon,, "HG calendar April 28-May 6: plant sales galore," 27 Apr. 2018 That has given the Fed a free hand to raise interest rates twice already this year and target two more increases for 2018, a more aggressive pace than the central bank had previously projected. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Why Gold’s Tumble Signals Confidence in U.S. Economy," 22 June 2018 Not being able to have free hands to use the toilet paper? Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "So, Brides Are Using This IKEA Bag To Help Them Pee On Their Wedding Day," 20 June 2018 The plan outlines an ambitious free-trade area between the U.K. and the EU after Brexit, effectively committing the U.K. to mirroring EU product regulations to preserve cross-border trade in goods, while seeking a freer hand on services. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Trump Says May’s Brexit Plan Could ‘Kill’ Chances of U.S.-U.K. Trade Deal," 13 July 2018 The concert is preceded by a free hands-on instrument activity for children and adults at 3 p.m. with a variety of classical and folk instruments. Linda Mcintosh,, "Escondido gets 90+ firefighting jackets," 5 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of freehand


1841, in the meaning defined above


1890, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for freehand

The first known use of freehand was in 1841

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More Definitions for freehand



English Language Learners Definition of freehand

: done without special tools or instruments
free·​hand | \ ˈfrē-ˌhand \

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).


irregularly rounded

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