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 The Jasmine Brand has freelance writers and contributors who find scoops and write stories. New York Times, "How to Build a Media Company," 8 Feb. 2020 Most impacted: Newspaper carriers and freelance writers. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In California: Virginity tests could be banned; pesticides could be permitted," 4 Feb. 2020 Legittino says that freelance writers, for example, would not necessarily meet all the criteria to obtain a business license. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, "Independent contractors are already finding ways to work around AB5," 30 Jan. 2020 Some are bear-watching guides, some work for Salmon State (a nonprofit that advocates for salmon habitat), and one is a freelance writer who covers adventures in the wilderness. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "The Tongass National Forest is a Wilderness on the Chopping Block," 16 Jan. 2020 Sharon Kelly, a freelance writer for Belt Magazine, authored this story. Sharon Kelly,, "What the petrochemical buildout along the Ohio River means for regional communities and beyond," 6 Jan. 2020 McCollum lost her full-time job 2-1/2 years ago and now works as a freelance writer. Ginger Christ, cleveland, "‘I basically have to stay sick:’ NE Ohioans feel the costs of delaying health care," 5 Jan. 2020 On that police raid: On May 10, San Francisco police officers took a sledgehammer to the door of Bryan Carmody, a freelance journalist who refused to say who in the police department leaked to him an internal report on Adachi’s death. Heather Knight,, "Meet Mano Raju, under-the-radar S.F. public defender, who wants to pay you for jury service," 21 Jan. 2020 This story appears in the February 2020 issue of Marie Claire subscribe here Jen Doll Jen Doll is a freelance journalist and the author of the memoir Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest. Jen Doll, Marie Claire, "Shan-Lyn Ma Is Here to Save Your Wedding," 20 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For instance, a bride could hire a makeup artist as an independent contractor, or a charity could hire a freelance harpist to play during a fundraiser. Carolyn Said,, "From horse handlers to tutors, California gig law AB5 frustrates contractors," 10 Feb. 2020 This correlates with popular freelance fields globally. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Charted: India’s growing gig workforce is young, gender skewed, and underpaid," 5 Feb. 2020 In New York, state lawmakers may consider allowing freelance writers and photographers far more freelance pieces before they must be converted into employees, according to an official involved in discussions on the bill. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "Gig economy bills move forward in other blue states, after California clears the way," 17 Jan. 2020 Alison Sherwood is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, a mother of four and freelance writer. Alison Sherwood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The paperless kitchen is easy and doable — even with a large, messy family," 31 Dec. 2019 But freelance comedy reporter Seth Simons posted video footage of Gillis making fun of Chinese people and Chinatown in a podcast from less than a year ago. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Presidential candidate Andrew Yang, fired ‘SNL’ comic Shane Gillis to meet," 17 Sep. 2019 The couriers are not considered employees and work on a freelance basis, logging into the platform at their convenience. Washington Post, "Venezuela migrants propel billion-dollar delivery app," 29 July 2019 At FlexJobs, a jobs posting site for those seeking telecommuting, remote or freelance work, CEO Sara Sutton said this year the company sponsored a holiday lunch by video conference, with everyone buying their favorite meal and expensing it. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "The best ways to show your employees you appreciate them," 19 Dec. 2019 Two national groups representing freelance writers and photographers on Tuesday filed the second legal challenge to California’s broad new labor law that aims to give wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors. Don Thompson,, "California freelance journalists sue over gig worker bill," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The question suggests Sinema and the other senators have concerns about future efforts to freelance the nation's diplomacy outside of the legal framework. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Impeachment trial: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema asks about private citizens conducting unsanctioned foreign policy," 30 Jan. 2020 According to the Freelancer’s Union, over 40% of the working population ages 23-38 is currently freelancing in some form. Allison Baum, Quartz at Work, "Extra-small businesses are an appealing escape from the corporate jobs we hate," 27 Jan. 2020 To be able to keep freelancing, writers were capped at 35 submissions a year — a small and seemingly arbitrary number. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "Gig economy bills move forward in other blue states, after California clears the way," 17 Jan. 2020 More than a third of American workers are already freelancing, and that number will rise to more than half of the working population by 2027, according to a large study conducted for Upwork and Freelancers Union. Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY, "8 rules for running your small business from a café," 28 Mar. 2018 But this is the first documentary evidence that confirms what has always appeared obvious: Giuliani wasn’t just freelancing. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Rudy Giuliani’s Bagman Lev Parnas Blows Up Trump’s Ukraine Defense," 16 Jan. 2020 Bolton's distaste for Giuliani's foreign policy freelancing emerged during the impeachment inquiry. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s lawyer and the Venezuelan president: How Giuliani got involved in back-channel talks with Maduro," 29 Dec. 2019 One of his college teachers, who was freelancing at the Universal Press Syndicate (now called Andrews McMeel Syndication), recommended him for a job at the syndicate as an assistant editor in 1974., "“He sent me a note with the contract saying he was confident I could draw,” she said in a phone interview.," 23 Sep. 2019 Leonard isn’t freelancing, per se, isn’t playing hunches with reckless disregard for the rest of the defense. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "We asked coaches whom Darius Leonard reminds them of. They listed hall of famers.," 24 Oct. 2019

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

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Freelance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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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