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

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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 Hadn’t classics given us the concepts of liberty, equality and democracy? New York Times, "He Wants to Save Classics From Whiteness. Can the Field Survive?," 2 Feb. 2021 During each square, old structures will crumble, liberty will prevail, and changes will become apparent. Lisa Stardust, refinery29.com, "Your February Horoscope Is Here," 1 Feb. 2021 Like an infectious cancer, white nationalism offers mutant, bastardized forms of American ideals and institutions like liberty, states’ rights, freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "White Nationalism Is Far Worse Than a 'Disease'," 26 Jan. 2021 In this reading, the protesting Americans can come off as inveterate smugglers, histrionically overreacting to tiny increments in taxation, their appeals to the great principles of liberty masking—just as in Beard’s take—self-interest. William Hogeland, The New Republic, "Against the Consensus Approach to History," 25 Jan. 2021 For those who treasure the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty and fear that much of the political left seeks to drive religion from the public square, the day’s events likely came as a welcome relief. James Freeman, WSJ, "Biden, Faith and Tolerance," 20 Jan. 2021 For the last year, the president pit short-term economic interests and a perverted idea of personal liberty against public health imperatives. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Presidential inaugurations are theater. What a difference this new cast makes," 20 Jan. 2021 Individuals who reject public health measures, including vaccines, in the name of liberty will soon face an ongoing risk of fatal disease as those who are vaccinated assert their own rights to gather and travel. Jacob M. Appel, Star Tribune, "What do we ethically owe those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine?," 19 Jan. 2021 The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? NBC News, "Meet the Press - January 17, 2021," 17 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for liberty

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for liberty

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Liberty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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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 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

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Comments on liberty

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