liberty

noun
lib·​er·​ty | \ ˈli-bər-tē How to pronounce liberty (audio) \
plural liberties

Definition of liberty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the quality or state of being free:
a : the power to do as one pleases
b : freedom from physical restraint
c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic (see despot sense 1) control
d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
e : the power of choice
2a : a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant : privilege
b : permission especially to go freely within specified limits was given the liberty of the house
3 : an action going beyond normal limits: such as
a : a breach of etiquette or propriety : familiarity took undue liberties with a stranger
b : risk, chance took foolish liberties with his health
c : a violation of rules or a deviation from standard practice took liberties in the way he played the game
d : a distortion of fact The movie takes many liberties with the actual events.
4 : a short authorized absence from naval duty usually for less than 48 hours
at liberty
1 : free
2 : at leisure : unoccupied

Liberty

geographical name
Lib·​er·​ty | \ ˈli-bər-tē How to pronounce Liberty (audio) \

Definition of Liberty (Entry 2 of 2)

city in northwestern Missouri north-northeast of Kansas City population 29,149

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for liberty

Noun

freedom, liberty, license mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. freedom has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated. freedom of the press liberty suggests release from former restraint or compulsion. the released prisoner had difficulty adjusting to his new liberty license implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom. freedom without responsibility may degenerate into license

Examples of liberty in a Sentence

Noun a nation that values liberty and democracy soldiers willing to die in defense of liberty They gave him the liberty to handle the problem himself. hard-won liberties such as freedom of the press
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The conservative legal advocacy group Alliance for Defending Freedom, which represents Meriwether, called Friday’s ruling a victory for freedom of speech and religious liberty. Washington Post, "A professor was reprimanded for refusing to use a transgender student’s pronouns. A court says he can sue.," 27 Mar. 2021 Where the drive to conserve political power is strongest, the promotion of religious liberty is weakest. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Religious Persecution Abroad Reminds Us Why Religious Liberty Matters," 20 Mar. 2021 The mayor of Houston, Texas’ largest city, shared that businesses will be providing a potentially hostile environment, as many may not be able to fully embrace the freedom and liberty that Abbott has granted. Chris Westfall, Forbes, "Texas, Unmasked: Mask Mandate Removal Presents Massive Leadership Challenge," 11 Mar. 2021 The case, which deals with questions of religious liberty and LGBTQ rights, will be one of the first argued since Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Start your week smart: Polls, record cases, typhoon, Sean Connery, early voter death," 1 Nov. 2020 In recent years, the court has ruled in favor of people and companies asserting claims under the law at issue, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty. Mark Sherman, Star Tribune, "Supreme Court wrestles with Muslims' suit over no-fly list," 6 Oct. 2020 On November 4, the Supreme Court will weigh a dispute that stands at the intersection of religious liberty and LGBTQ rights. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "High-stakes battles await justices as Supreme Court opens new term," 5 Oct. 2020 Several of the cases will consider questions of religious liberty, most prominently Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, to be heard the morning after the election. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Religious liberty advocates have high hopes for Supreme Court cases, even if Ginsburg isn't replaced," 23 Sep. 2020 Opponents may challenge vaccination requirements based on claims of religious liberty or under specific laws that would allow for a religious exemption from any COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Ross D. Silverman, The Conversation, "Could religious exemptions trump a COVID-19 vaccine mandate? Well, that depends," 31 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'liberty.' 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 liberty

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for liberty

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French liberté, from Latin libertat-, libertas, from liber free — more at liberal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about liberty

Time Traveler for liberty

Time Traveler

The first known use of liberty was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for liberty

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Liberty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for liberty

liberty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of liberty

: the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely
: the power to do or choose what you want to
: a political right

liberty

noun
lib·​er·​ty | \ ˈli-bər-tē How to pronounce liberty (audio) \
plural liberties

Kids Definition of liberty

1 : the state of being free : freedom
2 : freedom to do as desired Give the child some liberty.
3 : the state of not being busy : leisure
4 : a political right Don't take your liberties for granted.
5 : an action that is too free The movie takes liberties with the truth.
at liberty
: able to act or speak freely I'm not at liberty to discuss the project.

liberty

noun
lib·​er·​ty
plural liberties

Legal Definition of liberty

1a : freedom from external (as governmental) restraint, compulsion, or interference in engaging in the pursuits or conduct of one's choice to the extent that they are lawful and not harmful to others
b : enjoyment of the rights enjoyed by others in a society free of arbitrary or unreasonable limitation or interference
2 : freedom from physical restraint
3 : freedom from subjection to the will of another claiming ownership or services
4 : right the right to a fair trial is a fundamental liberty secured by the Fourteenth Amendment— W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on liberty

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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