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

Adjective I wrote a freelance article for a nature magazine.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rachna Sachasinh is a freelance writer and works with artisan weavers in Laos. Travel, "This ancient town is the perfume capital of India," 4 Jan. 2021 The 31-year-old freelance writer has worked for several years doing various writing gigs for companies and newspapers. Washington Post, "Months later, more than 1 million Americans are still waiting for unemployment aid," 4 Jan. 2021 Samantha Nobles-Block is a Bay Area freelance writer. Samantha Nobles-block,, "These Bay Area residents found new careers during the pandemic — by choice or necessity," 22 Dec. 2020 Nearly every week for the past 37 years, the focus of my work and life was travel, the first 24 as travel editor of The Plain Dealer and more recently as a freelance writer. David G. Molyneaux, cleveland, "My year without travel: Long-time Cleveland travel writer reflects on a pandemic year of staying close to home," 17 Dec. 2020 Sarah Neilson is a freelance writer and book critic. Star Tribune, "Review: 'Crosshairs,' by Catherine Hernandez," 24 Dec. 2020 Rachel Burchfield is a freelance writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British royal family. Rachel Burchfield, Glamour, "Could Queen Elizabeth II Be the Last Queen of England?," 21 Dec. 2020 Like many musicians, Julian Tello is accustomed to the ups and downs of freelance gig work. Andrea Kramar, USA TODAY, "Changing careers during COVID-19: Here's how one millennial went from violist to medical technician," 4 Dec. 2020 Here are the hot categories for freelance work in 2021, according to FlexJobs. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "Meet the pandemic-friendly office holiday shindig," 1 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Bosselman is a freelance journalist and past editor of Streetsblog Denver. Andy Bosselman, The Denver Post, "Bosselman: Denver built its neighborhoods around racist housing policies. But “neighborhood defenders” refuse change.," 13 June 2020 Nicole Graev Lipson is a freelance journalist, essayist, and critic. Nicole Graev Lipson,, "A rousing call for change in Koa Beck’s ‘White Feminism’," 2 Jan. 2021 Randy Dotinga, a freelance journalist in San Diego, wasn’t too surprised that one of his father’s students still remembered him fondly 60 years removed from his classroom. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Retired teacher, COVID victim Ralph Dotinga remembered as ‘gentle giant’," 30 Dec. 2020 Austin Tice, a freelance journalist who had contributed to the Washington Post, McClatchy and other news organizations, was believed to have been abducted in Syria in 2012. Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, "After 12 Years, Arrest Made in Abduction of Former Times Journalist David Rohde," 28 Oct. 2020 Tice, a Houston native and Marine veteran, traveled to Syria in 2012 as a freelance journalist for McClatchy, The Washington Post and other news outlets. Elizabeth Thompson, Dallas News, "Negotiations in works to free hostage Austin Tice, a Texan believed held in Syria since 2012," 19 Oct. 2020 The lawsuit, filed on behalf of freelance journalist Jared Goyette, names the City of Minneapolis along with several law enforcement officials as defendants. Fox News, "Costs from weeks of protests take financial toll on cash-strapped cities across US," 15 Aug. 2020 The vandals also threw projectiles at police officers who were trying to disperse the crowd with pepper balls and a flash-bang, a freelance journalist reported. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "'Fully engulfed in flames': Portland protesters torch historic fountain depicting elk," 2 July 2020 Yet Rangel, a freelance fashion designer, just landed a job running a new program. Sharon Epperson, NBC News, "This non-profit is helping Latinas address race, gender, economic disparities amid Covid-19," 15 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Freelance Writing 12-Course Bundle features 12 courses and 16 hours of content, which will send you well on your way to freelance success. Greta Good, Chron, "Start your career as a copywriter with this $38 bundle," 23 Dec. 2020 That includes unemployment payments that the CARES Act extends to freelance and gig workers, who normally don’t qualify for benefits. Author: Nat Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "As pandemic worsens, 40,000 Alaskans endure an ‘inexcusable’ wait for relief," 2 Dec. 2020 As companies restructure to accommodate falling revenue, workforce cuts seem easy: Switching a portion of their employee base to freelance helps businesses save on salary costs and pricey benefits. Jenna Birch, Marie Claire, "The Gray-Area Economy," 25 Nov. 2020 Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus. Colleen Barry, Star Tribune, "In Italy, theater reopens in town devastated by COVID," 23 Nov. 2020 One is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides jobless aid to freelance and gig workers. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "12 million Americans set to lose unemployment benefits after Christmas," 19 Nov. 2020 That’s what happened to freelance writer Wendy Reynolds during her first try last year. Patrick Connolly,, "National Novel Writing Month: Orlando authors flesh out thousands of words per week," 16 Nov. 2020 Even the Colts’ best players, guys like Leonard and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, have to resist the urge to freelance and try to make plays on their own. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Unstoppable force vs. immovable object: Colts' run defense faces unique test in Ravens," 5 Nov. 2020 The criminal complaint alleges Baines exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision of federal coronavirus relief, or CARES Act, that was supposed to expand unemployment benefits to freelance and gig workers, CBS Los Angeles reports. CBS News, "Feds arrest rapper who bragged in music video about getting rich from jobless benefits scam," 19 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for freelance

Time Traveler

The first known use of freelance was in 1819

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Statistics for freelance

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Freelance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on freelance

Nglish: Translation of freelance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of freelance for Arabic Speakers

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