lib·er·ate | \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt \
liberated; liberating

Definition of liberate 

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from liberate

liberator \ˈli-bə-ˌrā-tər \ noun
liberatory \ˈli-b(ə-)rə-ˌtȯr-ē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The Skyler episode, though, puts a fine point on how certain social conventions can be liberating when embraced out of sincere affinity. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Queer Is Queer Eye?," 15 June 2018 In fact, though Miss America started specifically as a swimsuit competition, that format was then considered by some to be liberating for participants. Time, "Why the End of Miss America's Swimsuit Competition Is a Big Deal, According to Pageant History Experts," 7 June 2018 But speaking out, despite the hardships, can be self-liberating and an inspiration to others. Matthew Ormseth,, "Anita Hill, Tapped to Replace Keynote Speaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Warns Wesleyan Graduates of "Uncertain Times" Ahead," 27 May 2018 The president reportedly feels liberated to act on his impulses. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Trump is finally making investors nervous," 3 Apr. 2018 The deer was liberated in Purcell’s side yard after falling asleep from the tranquilizer. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Deer in distress from peanut butter jar is freed, Placer resident says," 12 July 2018 That will make the process bumpy, but there’s also something liberating about it. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Alamo Plaza redesign effort confronts stubborn fear of change," 30 June 2018 Magic Words: Studying my own experience liberates a new philosophy. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes July 2-8," 29 June 2018 The show’s premise offered its characters some combination of grit and glitter as a means to liberate themselves from the prison of oppressive history—a cathartic, rare feat, still, for women on television. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of liberate

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for liberate

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about liberate

Statistics for liberate

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for liberate

The first known use of liberate was circa 1623

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for liberate



English Language Learners Definition of liberate

: 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)


lib·er·ate | \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt \
liberated; liberating

Kids Definition of liberate

: to set free

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on liberate

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


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!