free·​think·​er ˈfrē-ˈthiŋ-kər How to pronounce freethinker (audio)
: a person who thinks freely or independently : one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority
especially : one who rejects or is skeptical of religious dogma
freethinking noun or adjective

Examples of freethinker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The boys, including brilliant freethinker Melchior (Marshall) and his deaf friend Moritz (Joseph Saraceni), suffer through rote Latin learning with little room for creative thought. Jim Higgins, Journal Sentinel, 2 Mar. 2024 As a freethinker who had run afoul of both Judaism and Christianity, Spinoza knew that bigotry and fanaticism weren’t just imposed on the people; they were also imposed by the people. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 In the ninth century, the irreverent freethinker Ibn al-Rawandi used the fertile intellectual climate of the Abbasid caliphate to question prophecy and holy books. Jacob McHangama, Foreign Affairs, 9 Feb. 2022 But get this: the freethinkers who dreamed up this potential flood tide work not out of Honda's Japanese R&D center and studio but its American think tank and design enclave in Southern California. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, 15 June 2023 That's the sign of a real freethinker. Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 14 Feb. 2013 Doctors volunteered, but so did nurses, store owners, actors, academics, factory workers and freethinkers – even prisoners about to be executed. Susan Lawrence, Fortune, 10 Mar. 2023 Besides being a screenwriter and author, Chapman himself is an atheist, freethinker, science advocate, and great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. Chris Mooney, Discover Magazine, 4 July 2011 Diddy originally addressed the antics during an appearance on The Breakfast Club, saying that as a freethinker, the rapper’s actions are often misconstrued. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freethinker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1700, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of freethinker was circa 1700

Dictionary Entries Near freethinker

Cite this Entry

“Freethinker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on freethinker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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