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

Barrett, a Catholic, is considered reliably socially conservative, and conservatives consider her as someone who will faithfully uphold principles of religious liberty from the bench. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "What you need to know about Trump's top SCOTUS contenders," 8 July 2018 The supposedly benign language of defending religious liberty is quite concerning, too, since this actually means that the administration is defending the right of Christians to persecute gay and lesbian people and to deny women reproductive care. Brittney Cooper, Cosmopolitan, "Why Trump’s Speech Was More Dangerous Than You Think," 31 Jan. 2018 Just last week, two pastors interrupted Sessions’ speech on religious liberty at a Boston event to protest his hardline views on immigration and refugees. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Jeff Sessions helped create Trump’s brand of evangelical patriotism. It will outlast him.," 7 Nov. 2018 While the show got that bit right, there were several other areas where the writers took some liberties. Eliza Thompson, Cosmopolitan, "Did Andrew Cunanan Assault His Mother? Fact-Checking Episode 7 of Versace," 8 Mar. 2018 On issue after issue — religious liberty, the unborn, Israel, the American flag, and free speech, to cite just a few — the president and religious Americans have made common cause. Dennis Prager, National Review, "A Defense of Evangelicals Who Support Trump," 6 Feb. 2018 Both Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia were appointed by a President who understood that the best defense of our liberty and a judicial branch immune from political prejudice where judges that apply the Constitution as written. Brian Bennett, Time, "How President Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Change the U.S.," 10 July 2018 And panic shouldn’t lead us to seek protection that inadvertently squashes our own liberties. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 Voters conclude, reasonably enough, that the benefit to society is not worth the cost to their personal liberty. The Economist, "If national service is so good, everyone should do it," 5 July 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

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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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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