liberty

noun
lib·​er·​ty | \ ˈli-bər-tē \
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 \

Definition of Liberty (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And Congress has typically afforded the president broad authority to determine what constitutes an emergency and what does not, said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Can Trump declare emergency to build his wall?," 8 Jan. 2019 The European Union is under pressure from Mr. Putin but also from governments within, such as the illiberal rulers of Hungary or Poland, which ignore the union’s founding principles of liberty and democracy. Margaret Macmillan, WSJ, "1989: The Year of Unfulfilled Hopes," 28 Dec. 2018 The American flag stands for, among other things, workplace liberty and decent pay for an honest day’s work. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 His life, liberty, and sacred honor that Mollie is talking about. Fox News, "Brett Kavanaugh hit with more sexual assault allegations," 25 Sep. 2018 According to The Intercept, the students are fighting a range of charges, including intimidation of public authority, violating the right of assembly, restriction of liberty, and rioting, with some carrying a 15-year sentence. Chloe Watlington, Teen Vogue, "Students in Puerto Rico Protest Education Budget Cuts in the Wake of Recovery From Hurricane Maria," 6 Sep. 2018 For a five-to-four majority this time, Rehnquist wrote the opinion for the Court saying that the rights and liberties protected by the due process clause are those rights that are deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh likely gives the Supreme Court the votes to overturn Roe. Here’s how they’d do it.," 5 Oct. 2018 This week, the beneficiary is Patriact, a group dedicated to defending civil rights and liberties. San Francisco Chronicle, "SFChronicle critics’ picks: What to do the week of March 18," 16 Mar. 2018 The award honors Oregonians who promote the values of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice. Rosemarie Stein, OregonLive.com, "Business Movers: Jennifer Middleton receives the 2018 Justice Hans A. Linde Award from the American Constitution Society," 14 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for liberty

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for liberty

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

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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 \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on liberty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liberty

Spanish Central: Translation of liberty

Nglish: Translation of liberty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liberty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on liberty

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