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

Kevin Wheeler is a freelance writer and radio producer. Kevin Wheeler, Curbed, "Why voice assistants don’t understand people who stutter," 12 Dec. 2018 Brent Rose is a freelance writer and regular Verge contributor. Brent Rose, The Verge, "How to build a camera kit for adventure photography," 20 Nov. 2018 Melissa Blake is a freelance writer and blogger covering disability rights and women's issues. Melissa Blake, Glamour, "To Cope with My Father's Suicide, I Had to Learn to Love My Grief," 17 Nov. 2018 Around this time, Roman Jimenez, a freelance reporter at the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, took up the Staples story again. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "“He never paid us a cent”—man suing Tesla has his own lawsuit-filled past," 31 Oct. 2018 Melissa Blake is a freelance writer and blogger from Illinois. Melissa Blake, Good Housekeeping, "Princess Eugenie's Dress Meant a Lot to Me, Because I Have the Same Scar," 17 Oct. 2018 According to Us Weekly, McHenry, who graduated from Stanford University, was a freelance writer and producer. Mariah Haas, Fox News, "Pregnant reality star Lyric McHenry dead at 26, found on sidewalk with drugs: reports," 15 Aug. 2018 Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News. Paul Johnson, Elgin Courier-News, "Red-hot Huntley: Hunter Rumachik and Red Raiders get on roll to reach Elite Eight of Phil Lawler Summer Classic," 14 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Amazon isn’t the only company using freelance labor for its own gain. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 Dec. 2018 Sites like Demand Studios and Associated Content hire experienced freelance writers, editors, and filmmakers to work on projects for sites like eHow,, and YouTube. Mary Hunt, Woman's Day, "8 Easy Ways to Make Money Online," 12 June 2018 Cruiskeen is a mostly one-person operation that sometimes uses freelance consultants, according to its website. Jack Gillum And Jeff Kao, Ars Technica, "File-sharing software on state election servers could expose them to intruders," 5 Nov. 2018 In a possible acknowledgment of the potential value of such outsiders, Putin signed a decree last week making information about freelance agents who help Russia's foreign intelligence services a state secret, according to Russian news agencies. Angela Charlton And Matthew Bodner, Fox News, "Russian meddling abroad: Does Putin pull all the strings?," 15 Sep. 2018 Being a minimalist has helped me make the jump to freelance writing full time and going all in on the things that excite me or bring me joy. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "What It’s Really Like to Be a Minimalist," 12 Aug. 2018 When: July 20-22, July 26-29 Where: Lumber Center, 19351 Washington St., Grayslake Tickets: $14-$17 Information: 847-543-2300; Sheryl DeVore is freelance reporter for the News-Sun. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "CLC students take on political, timely ‘Cabaret’," 11 July 2018 AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in Houston and AP freelance reporters Kollin Miller in Kansas City, Missouri, Jill Painter Lopez in Anaheim, California, Brian McNally in Washington and John Jackson in Chicago contributed to this report. Jay Cohen,, "Mike Trout leads stellar AL outfield for All-Star Game," 9 July 2018 Carole Carlson is freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Gary Excel Center, Goodwill outlet eye April opening," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In yet another 2018 IPO, the freelancing startup Upwork has filed to go public. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook is succeeding in spite of itself," 25 July 2018 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

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

17 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for freelance

The first known use of freelance was in 1819

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More Definitions for freelance



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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More from Merriam-Webster on freelance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with freelance

Spanish Central: Translation of freelance

Nglish: Translation of freelance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of freelance for Arabic Speakers

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