lib·​er·​ate ˈli-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce liberate (audio)
liberated; liberating

transitive verb

: to set at liberty : free
specifically : to free (something, such as a country) from domination by a foreign power
: to free from combination
liberate the gas by adding acid
: to take or take over illegally or unjustly
material liberated from a nearby construction siteThorne Dreyer
liberator noun
liberatory adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for liberate

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint.

free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses.

freed the animals from their cages

release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation.

released his anger on a punching bag

liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty.

liberated their country from the tyrant

emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination.

labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery

manumit implies emancipation from slavery.

the document manumitted the slaves

Examples of liberate in a Sentence

Rebels fought to liberate the country. Soldiers liberated the hostages from their captors. Laptop computers could liberate workers from their desks. He was using materials that he had liberated from a construction site.
Recent Examples on the Web Sure, Andrew Jackson liberated Americans from foreign tyranny, but his family owned slaves back in Tennessee. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 27 Feb. 2024 Human rights organizations believe at least 20 Ukrainian prisoners were held at the school between April 2022 and the end of that September, when the village was liberated by Ukrainian troops. Sabra Ayres, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2024 It was liberated by Kyiv’s forces nine months later. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 Leon Weintraub, a 97-year-old resident of Stockholm, was 19 when, diagnosed with typhus, he was liberated from the concentration camp at Auschwitz by the French army. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Jan. 2024 Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the British Army on April 15, 1945 — two days after the van Leenens arrived. Jose R. Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, 27 Jan. 2024 The coup birthed a rare consensus in the resistance that the only way to liberate Myanmar from the military was to rid the country of the junta by force, as opposed to a nonviolent approach previously embraced by some groups, including the Karen National Union and the Chin National Front. Avinash Paliwal, Foreign Affairs, 24 Jan. 2024 Take steps that liberate you from negativity and unhealthy temptations. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 10 Feb. 2024 Soviet Red Army troops liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan. 27, 1945, with about 7,000 prisoners there, including children and those who were too weak to walk. Czarek Sokolowski The Associated Press,, 28 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare, from liber — see liberal entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of liberate was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near liberate

Cite this Entry

“Liberate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


lib·​er·​ate ˈlib-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce liberate (audio)
liberated; liberating
: to set free
liberator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on liberate

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