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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 Golden is a San Diego freelance food writer and blogger. Caron Golden,, "Yogurt: Purely homemade," 25 June 2018 Joan Walden is a freelance writer based in West Hartford. Joan Walden,, "288 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury," 21 June 2018 Howard Lee is a freelance science writer focusing on climate changes in deep time. Howard Lee, Ars Technica, "What happened last time it was as warm as it’s going to get later this century?," 18 June 2018 Lisa Kanarek is an author, freelance writer, and writes the blog Forgot to Tell You. Lisa Kanarek, Washington Post, "How a saucy, 78-year-old gambler brought me humanity," 29 June 2018 But as a freelance writer who had failed to turn in any work all week, the booking promised a few hundred dollars that would fill an upcoming income gap. Alana Massey, Curbed, "How an unexpected Airbnb guest helped me get over a breakup," 22 June 2018 Londergan is a freelance writer and editor, newspaper columnist, writing coach, workshop teacher and amateur colonial historian. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 19 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about freelance

Statistics for freelance

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for freelance

The first known use of freelance was in 1819

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!