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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Using a OnePlus phone, for anyone who’s had to suffer the friction of dealing with other Android manufacturers’ software, is frankly liberating. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 But in this instance, those honored that day – 16 children in all – perished in the weeks, months and years after Allied forces liberated Nazi Germany. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Forgiveness isn’t always the result of an apology, but I’ve been told its effects are liberating. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Swimming lesson may be leading to forgiveness," 10 July 2018 The stories of GIs liberating cities from NAZIs and keeping the Russians out are being replaced with Neo-Nazi marches and Trump-Putin meetings. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Russia scandal casts a shadow on Trump’s European trip.," 9 July 2018 What made the bicycle truly liberating was its fundamental incompatibility with many of the limits placed on women. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 The track, out today (July 6) is a toe-tapping pop/folk tune that touches on feeling liberated, and achieving your true potential with the right people by your side. Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "Niall Horan Releases Uplifting New Single 'Finally Free' For 'Small Foot' Movie: Listen," 6 July 2018 Now that men have liberated their legs, the next barrier to fall is the aversion to feminine silhouettes. Samuel Hine, GQ, "The Daring New Trend in Pants Is…Shorts," 2 July 2018 France remained under Nazi control until the British and American forces liberated the French four years later. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Why did Richard Cordray link some Ohio Republicans to Nazi collaborators?," 25 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.

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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

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Statistics for liberate

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for liberate

The first known use of liberate was circa 1623

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on liberate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with liberate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liberate

Spanish Central: Translation of liberate

Nglish: Translation of liberate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liberate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on liberate

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to enclose within walls

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