free·​lance | \ ˈfrē-ˌlan(t)s How to pronounce freelance (audio) \

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

During his college years, Van was a freelance reporter for the Des Moines Register, covering events in Iowa City. Bob Goldsborough,, "Jon Van, longtime Tribune science writer, dies," 11 July 2019 Later, Donaldson went on to work at Gardner Business Media and Clark became a freelance writer for a variety of places, including Ripley’s. Sarah Horne,, "Believe it or not: Ripley’s podcast is produced in Cincinnati," 11 July 2019 Abernathy, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, is a freelance writer and former newspaper editor based in Hillsboro, Ohio. Gary Abernathy, Twin Cities, "Gary Abernathy: No one makes Trump as unsteady as Kamala Harris does," 7 July 2019 Ukrainian freelance reporter Stanislav Aseyev disappeared two years ago in Donetsk, Ukraine. Wired Staff, WIRED, "The One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack," 1 July 2019 Rob Earnshaw is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune. Rob Earnshaw, Post-Tribune, "Hammond councilman drops recount bid; concedes Dem race," 17 June 2019 Gregory Tejeda is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown. Gregory Tejeda, Daily Southtown, "Area dads spend Father's Day in the time-honored pursuit of fish, with help of free worms," 17 June 2019 His freelance work as a construction-equipment scavenger takes him back and forth across the militarized border, where not one but two fortified walls now loom over the Rio Grande. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 May 2019 Karen Weintraub Karen Weintraub is a freelance health and science journalist who writes regularly for the New York Times, STAT and USA Today, among others. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Going Barefoot Is Good for the Sole," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On Wednesday Gonzalez added construction contractors, business-to-business services, freelance writers, fine artists, grant writers, graphic designers and podiatrists to that list. Dustin Gardiner,, "Gig-work bill passes Senate committee as crowds rally for and against it," 10 July 2019 Anna Mazurek is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Austin, Texas. Anna Mazurek,, "Get your fill of barbecue on this Southern road trip," 27 June 2019 Giovanni Sabato Giovanni Sabato trained as a biologist and is now a freelance science writer based in Rome. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 For information contact a travel agent who specializes in river cruises or go to David Molyneaux and Fran Golden are freelance writers in Cleveland who write about cruising., "Cruising the Mississippi River: New ships, insightful port excursions update a nostalgic float," 23 June 2019 Eric Rosen is a freelance travel writer and loyalty-program expert who contributes regularly to National Geographic Traveler, the Los Angeles Times, The Points Guy , and more. Eric Rosen, National Geographic, "Discover one of Europe’s most underrated wine regions," 12 June 2019 Alison Sherwood is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, a mother of three and freelance writer. Alison Sherwood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On-the-go, kid-friendly picnic spots in Milwaukee (and foods) for summer fun and memories," 5 June 2019 AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in Secaucus and AP freelance writer Gary Horowitz in Corvallis, Oregon, contributed. Dennis Waszak Jr., The Denver Post, "Orioles draft Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with No. 1 pick," 4 June 2019 Yên Nguyen, 27, freelance fashion editor and stylist A lot of my gender revelations didn’t happen until after college. Rachel Lubitz,, "I'm Tired Of Being Asked, “Are You A Boy Or A Girl?"," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

More than 56 million Americans freelanced last year, choosing flexibility over a traditional 9-to-5 job. Stephane Kasriel, Quartz at Work, "It’s time to factor remote work into our urban planning," 19 June 2019 Yet Mack’s freelancing success this past year hasn’t only hinged on his classical finesse. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, "The Washington Ballet let Brooklyn Mack go. The popular dancer landed at the Metropolitan Opera House.," 18 June 2019 Dowd was freelancing This might actually be the worst explanation, legally speaking, given that some believe a president's pardon power is absolute. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "3 no-good explanations for Trump’s lawyer floating pardons for Flynn and Manafort," 28 Mar. 2018 Upwork was formed of the merger of two freelancing websites, Elance and oDesk. Maureen Farrell, WSJ, "Tech IPO Market Shows Signs of Warming," 12 Apr. 2018 By giving floaters an office, coworking spaces like have started to legitimize the idea of freelancing in Japan; WeWork plans to have 12 locations in Tokyo by the end of the year. Ellen Freeman, Curbed, "I lived in a Tokyo coworking space," 28 Sep. 2018 According to an annual study commissioned by Upwork, a platform for freelance workers, more than 1 in 3 Americans freelanced in 2018. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 Dec. 2018 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

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

16 Jul 2019

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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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to complain fretfully

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