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 Chris is a graphic designer and freelance artist from Dallas, Texas. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Meet the Cast of Netflix's "The Circle"," 2 Jan. 2020 Ashley, a freelance event planner, has had difficulty finding steady full-time employment. NBC News, "More LGBTQ millennials plan to have kids regardless of income, survey finds," 27 Dec. 2019 Leisure time for everyone is increasingly fleeting and fragmented, especially in service industry and freelance jobs, with technology constantly poking holes in the boundary. Washington Post, "A new year’s resolution to set better work boundaries," 26 Dec. 2019 While shifting from chaotic freelance life into a staff position, Tara looks forward to working with a team and exploring intuitive cooking with a minimalist mindset and maximalist experience. Irina Groushevaia, Bon Appétit, "Ginger Tea and Intention-Setting Get Brooklyn Chef Tara Thomas to Sleep," 18 Dec. 2019 This move follows the recent activism of freelance journalist group California Freelance Writers United, which met in person over the weekend to solidify plans to contest AB-5. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Freelance Journalists Sue California Ahead of Gig Worker Law," 17 Dec. 2019 Promotional postcards, created by a freelance graphic artist, have been mailed. Matthew J. Palm,, "CFCArts Christmas extravaganza: 4 months of work for 3 nights of joy," 11 Dec. 2019 Aside from her new freelance design project with Fenty, Muaddi's shoes were previously featured in Rihanna's Savage x Fenty lingerie show during New York Fashion Week. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna Just Hired the Buzzy Shoe Designer Taking Over Instagram," 3 Dec. 2019 More than a quarter of working age Americans earn money through some sort of freelance or gig job, according to management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Gig work: It’s on the rise and for many in the Baltimore area, a way of life," 29 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Amid a cratering stock price, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel is stepping down from the freelance job site, the company said late on Monday. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "Upwork CEO Is Stepping Down Amid Depressed Stock Price," 10 Dec. 2019 Nixon may have lost his job after obstructing an investigation into freelance GOP spying on his political opponents, but Lyndon Johnson skipped any pretense, and just asked the FBI and CIA to spy for him. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Presidential Misconduct: Some Historical Perspective," 5 Dec. 2019 Foley’s son James, a freelance war correspondent, was beheaded by members of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in 2014, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria., "Diane Foley, the mother of murdered war correspondent James Foley, said Sunday she was grateful to learn the US government was still searching for members of the group’s leadership after news broke Sunday of the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group.," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The beats come first, then Post Malone comes into the studio and freelances melodies for about 15 minutes. Michael Corcoran,, "Post Malone’s San Antonio show a warmup for his big AT&T Stadium festival," 28 Oct. 2019 Like Oladipo, Sumner is being allowed by assistant coach/defensive coordinator Dan Burke to freelance on defense. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Edmond Sumner values guidance from Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo," 24 Oct. 2019 Taylor went from freelancing for ESPN in 2011 to hosting in just over three years. NBC News, "ESPN's Maria Taylor has a message for women who want to work in sports," 27 Sep. 2019 After attending cooking school, Amanda Haas freelanced and tested recipes before launching a website that focused on simple family cooking. CBS News, "The Dish: Chef Amanda Haas shares her signature recipes," 14 Sep. 2019 Toney’s freelancing style worries turnover-phobic coaches. Edgar Thompson,, "Five things to watch during Gators preseason camp," 24 July 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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Freelance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 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

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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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