free·lance | \ˈfrē-ˌlan(t)s \

Definition of freelance 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a usually free lance : a mercenary soldier especially of the Middle Ages : condottiere

b : a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization

2 : a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer



Definition of freelance (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : of, relating to, or being a freelance : independent a freelance writer

b : done by a freelance freelance reviewing

2 : not sponsored by an organization freelance terrorists


freelanced; freelancing; freelances

Definition of freelance (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to act or work as a freelance

transitive verb

: to produce as a freelance freelancing magazine articles

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Other Words from freelance


freelance adverb

Examples of freelance in a Sentence


I wrote a freelance article for a nature magazine.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This book was compiled by local freelance journalist Bill Healy, who came to the project through Sonari Glinton, a former radio colleague at WBEZ and a friend who once parked cars for Gibsons and is now an NPR Business Desk correspondent. Rick Kogan,, "Gibsons Confidential: Inside tales from the famous restaurant are in a book you can't yet read," 12 July 2018 Tom Saler is an author and freelance journalist in Madison. Tom Saler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Saler: Boorish behavior, in the workplace or the White House, comes with a high cost," 22 June 2018 Chronicle radio columnist Ben Fong-Torres, who has a lot of other major credits to his name — as Rolling Stone writer-editor, author of 11 books, freelance journalist, broadcaster and (quite fine) Elvis impersonator — is embarking on a new venture. Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ben Fong-Torres writing ‘Summer of Love’ musical," 7 June 2018 Alexandra Fisher is a freelance journalist covering news and current affairs stories in East Africa. National Geographic, "As Tigers Become Rarer, Poachers Are Targeting Lions," 1 June 2018 Manafort rests his accusation in the court filing on the writings of freelance journalist Sara Carter. Katelyn Polantz, CNN, "Paul Manafort accuses Mueller team member of leaking to reporters," 21 May 2018 Judge Bernstein dismissed Gizmodo Media from the lawsuit in December, but the complaint is still being prosecuted against the author, freelance journalist Ryan Goldberg. Jonathan Randles, WSJ, "Univision’s Gizmodo Media Seeks Court Shield From Peter Thiel-Funded Lawsuits," 11 May 2018 Anne Roderique-Jones is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in Vogue, Marie Claire, Southern Living, Town & Country, and Condé Nast Traveler. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "Am I a Selfish Person? I Set Out to Find Out," 8 July 2018 Monée Fields-White is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Monée Fields-white, The Root, "Joe Jackson, Controversial Patriarch of a Musical Dynasty, Has Died at 89," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Its more than 2,400 members include freelance editors and university professors, and people who work in book publishing, online publications, nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations—anyplace where writing is in need of editing. John E. Mcintyre,, "We owe a debt to Hank Glamann," 13 July 2018 So yes, there are actually a lot of ways for freelancers to find gigs these days, and yes, freelance gigs can turn into a lot more than your typical one-off project. Steve Strauss, USA TODAY, "Get your gig: Here are the 9 best sites to visit for freelance or contract work," 12 July 2018 Lanzmann tinkered in politics and journalism, working periodically for the journal France Dimanche, taking on freelance assignments. Lori Hinnant,, "Claude Lanzmann, director of 'Shoah,' dies at age 92," 5 July 2018 Zwieg, who has written freelance articles about baking for the Journal Sentinel, has been head baker for C. Adam's for 1½ years and with the company for 2½ years. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2 employees taking over ownership of C. Adam's Bakery in the Milwaukee Public Market," 5 Apr. 2018 Ralph Winingham is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer. Ralph Winingham, San Antonio Express-News, "Croaker season lights up speckled trout action at Baffin Bay," 28 June 2018 Now on her own, Maggie makes her way as a freelance monster hunter, tracking down magical creatures that threaten the relative safety of Dinétah. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Trail of Lightning is a breathtaking Native American urban fantasy adventure," 26 June 2018 Underrepresented groups face uphill battles of inclusion and visibility in major media newsrooms — in roles such as staff journalists, critics and assigned freelance writers — which are also historically dominated by white men. Jen Yamato,, "Sundance and Toronto film festivals pledge increased access for underrepresented critics," 15 June 2018 Nathan Harris has been on both sides of the freelance economy. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This platform connects emerging companies with vetted freelance talent to grow," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Winters’ passion for the Capital had led her to freelance there for decades before she was finally hired as a reporter. Aubrey Whelan,, "'It's a remarkable thing … we've got to protect.' In shooting's wake, a Maryland town embraces its newspaper," 30 June 2018 In 2001, Nack left Sports Illustrated and freelanced for numerous publications, including ESPN and GQ. Charlotte Carroll,, "Veteran Writer William Nack Dies," 14 Apr. 2018 After dropping out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Harris started freelancing for small businesses in the city, helping them with marketing plans. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This platform connects emerging companies with vetted freelance talent to grow," 14 June 2018 Bryan previously freelanced for the Raleigh News & Observer and had a regular podcast on the changing media landscape. Alexei Koseff, sacbee, "California tried a new voting system. What we can learn from the experiment," 11 June 2018 In January, Rincon began freelancing with the Chronicle and Villager. Staff Reports, Houston Chronicle, "New reporter joins The Woodlands Villager," 1 June 2018 Faced with starvation, the population began freelancing outside the broken state system to survive., "Why Doesn’t North Korea Want to Be More Like Its Neighbors?," 23 May 2018 The motion also said Phillips freelanced the dismissal offer without the authorization or knowledge of his supervisor, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard. Darrell Smith, sacbee, "DA vs. Noah Phillips: Office files motion against prosecutor running for DA seat | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 Zhang/Getty Images During several sessions, Messrs. Liu and Mr. Mnuchin met without others, leading to concerns among some industry groups that Mr. Mnuchin was trying to freelance a deal that would leave the U.S.-China trade relationship unchanged. Bob Davis, WSJ, "China Draws Up a Shopping List of American Goods to Avoid Trade War," 10 May 2018

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


1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1902, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Statistics for freelance

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for freelance

The first known use of freelance was in 1819

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English Language Learners Definition of freelance

: earning money by being hired to work on different jobs for short periods of time rather than by having a permanent job with one employer; also : done or produced by a freelance worker

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Comments on freelance

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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