free·​lanc·​er | \ ˈfrē-ˌlan(t)-sər How to pronounce freelancer (audio) \
plural freelancers

Definition of freelancer

1 : a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer : freelance sense 1 hired a freelancer to write the article … there were hundreds of photographers on the scene, some on assignment, some freelancers, most of them amateurs.— Garrison Keillor But while Renzo is the ultimate company man, a lifetime employee who reports to the same office every morning, Riccardo is the prototypical freelancer, a peripatetic problem-solver with five-dozen clients.— Bruce Schoenfeld
2 : a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization : freelance sense 2b [Anthony] Grafton contrasts public intellectuals outside and inside the universities, and he takes note of today's nostalgia for the freethinkers who lived and wrote independently of deans and classrooms. But it is good to be reminded that in that golden era of freelancers such as Wilson, H. L. Mencken, and Mary McCarthy, voices like theirs were also raised in universities.— G. W. Bowersock

Examples of freelancer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Brown is a former student at U of L and also wrote editorials as a freelancer and as an intern for The Courier Journal. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, 21 Apr. 2022 On top of that, there's a lot no one tells you in the beginning when getting started as a freelancer, from setting up health insurance, setting aside funds for social security, and filling out quarterly tax forms. Rachel King, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2022 With the Detroit Free Press increasingly devoting serious coverage to pop and rock music, Lindsey became a regular freelancer for the paper. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 17 Apr. 2022 Chernov, a member of the AP staff, has spent nearly the past decade in places such as Syria, Iraq and Myanmar; Maloletka, a longtime freelancer for AP, covered Ukraine's Maidan revolution and conflicts in Crimea. Elahe Izadi,, 19 Mar. 2022 Chernov, a member of the AP staff, has spent nearly the past decade in places such as Syria, Iraq and Myanmar; Maloletka, a longtime freelancer for AP, covered Ukraine’s Maidan revolution and conflicts in Crimea. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 From India, the freelancer made his way to the cultural crossroads of Turfan, in modern-day Xinjiang. Hari Kunzru, Harper’s Magazine , 4 Jan. 2022 For example, which channels will be used and when — always with the understanding that the freelancer may not always be available to answer right away or hop on a last-minute call. Yec, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 Anyone who has been a freelancer knows the pain of trying to get paid in a reasonable amount of time, let alone on the time at all. Rachel King, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'freelancer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of freelancer

1924, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best products for your home office.

Learn More About freelancer

Time Traveler for freelancer

Time Traveler

The first known use of freelancer was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near freelancer



free list

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for freelancer

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Freelancer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on freelancer

Nglish: Translation of freelancer for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!