verb lib·er·ate \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt \
Updated on: 18 Mar 2018

Definition of liberate

liberated; liberating
1 : to set at liberty : free; specifically : to free (something, such as a country) from domination by a foreign power
2 : to free from combination
  • liberate the gas by adding acid
3 : to take or take over illegally or unjustly
  • material liberated from a nearby construction site
  • —Thorne Dreyer


play \ˈli-bə-ˌrā-tər\ noun


play \ˈli-b(ə-)rə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of liberate in a Sentence

  1. Rebels fought to liberate the country.

  2. Soldiers liberated the hostages from their captors.

  3. Laptop computers could liberate workers from their desks.

  4. He was using materials that he had liberated from a construction site.

Recent Examples of liberate from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of liberate

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

LIBERATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of liberate for English Language Learners

  • : to free (someone or something) from being controlled by another person, group, etc.

  • : to give freedom or more freedom to (someone)

  • : to take or steal (something)

LIBERATE Defined for Kids


verb lib·er·ate \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt \

Definition of liberate for Students

liberated; liberating
: to set free

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up liberate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


one that breaks open safes to steal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice-with-tweedle-dee-and-tweedle-dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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