lais·​sez-faire | \ ˌle-ˌsā-ˈfer How to pronounce laissez-faire (audio) , ˌlā-, -ˌzā- \

Definition of laissez-faire

1 : a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights argued that the problem with oil prices was too much laissez-faire
2 : a philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference especially with individual freedom of choice and action the university has a policy of laissez-faire regarding nonacademic student activities

Other Words from laissez-faire

laissez-faire adjective

First Known Use of laissez-faire

1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for laissez-faire

French laissez faire, imperative of laisser faire to let (people) do (as they choose)

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The first known use of laissez-faire was in 1814

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Cite this Entry

“Laissez-faire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of laissez-faire

economics : a policy that allows businesses to operate with very little interference from the government

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