lib·​er·​ate | \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce liberate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce liberator (audio) \ noun
liberatory \ ˈli-​b(ə-​)rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce liberatory (audio) \ 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 same what if that was designed to liberate fresh thinking is instead used to assess risks and surface fear. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "What's your 'what if'? Turns out that when you ask it matters," 20 June 2020 This would get regulators off its back and liberate AWS, but would deprive Amazon of the money-machine that funds everything else. The Economist, "The genius of Amazon The pandemic has shown that Amazon is essential—but vulnerable," 18 June 2020 Allies began the steady push to liberate Europe; Hitler counterattacked at the Battle of the Bulge, but the Allies prevailed and reached Germany. Matthew W. Chwastyk, National Geographic, "See maps of nine key moments that defined WWII," 6 May 2020 Danto says that Warhol’s work, by disposing of modernism’s assertions that painting should be about the nature of painting, liberated it to go its own way, while the art critics stayed back in the schoolroom, arguing. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "Untangling Andy Warhol," 1 June 2020 There’s something very satisfying about palming a whole head onto a baking sheet and tossing it into the oven to care for itself, liberating myself from the finicky breaking up of florets that sends those little bits all over my counter. Los Angeles Times, "Whole roasted cauliflower is the lazy cook’s best friend," 22 Apr. 2020 Along the way these two clientalist parties seemed to be liberating themselves from native clients and increasingly serving corporations from Silicon Valley and commissioners in Brussels. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Did Ireland Go Populist Nationalist?," 14 Feb. 2020 In reality, no political choice available to the U.K. would liberate it from the EU’s regulatory reach. Anu Bradford, WSJ, "No, Brexit Won’t Free the U.K. From EU Regulations," 7 Feb. 2020 MORE THAN a million people, 90% of them Jews, had been murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau by the time the Soviet army liberated it on January 27th, 1945. The Economist, "Memory wipe Vladimir Putin wants to rehabilitate Stalin’s pact with Hitler," 23 Jan. 2020

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

Time Traveler for liberate

Time Traveler

The first known use of liberate was circa 1623

See more words from the same year

Statistics for liberate

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Liberate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for liberate


How to pronounce liberate (audio)

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)
humorous : to take or steal (something)


lib·​er·​ate | \ ˈli-bə-ˌrāt How to pronounce liberate (audio) \
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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!