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 That bill, introduced by Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy, was supported by nearly all major religious organizations because of its wide-ranging reaffirmation of religious liberty. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Mayor Pete’s Bogus Religious Tolerance," 5 Nov. 2019 The year ahead may also see rulings on several claims of religious liberty. David G. Savage, Anchorage Daily News, "New Supreme Court term will decide on ‘Dreamers,’ LGTBQ workplace rights and abortion," 7 Oct. 2019 The year ahead may also see rulings on several claims of religious liberty. Los Angeles Times, "New Supreme Court term will decide on ‘Dreamers,’ LGTBQ workplace rights and abortion," 6 Oct. 2019 The two sides are at liberty to agree it between themselves, but failure to do so will prompt a tribunal. SI.com, "Liverpool Set for Tribunal to Determine Harvey Elliott Compensation Fee," 27 Sep. 2019 The country’s cultural commitment to religious liberty took much longer. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: What John Andrews got wrong is that all religions are susceptible to abuse," 18 July 2019 The rule emerged after President Donald Trump in May 2017 signed an executive order instructing the attorney general to issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law. Larry Neumeister, The Denver Post, "Judge rejects moral-objection rule for abortion providers," 6 Nov. 2019 But a common fuel courses through each movement: a desire for justice and liberty shaped by the people. The Christian Science Monitor, "Life in a wildfire zone," 30 Oct. 2019 The domes and columns in his designs recalled ancient Greece and Rome to symbolize liberty and democracy. Ben Finley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Exhibit on Jefferson’s architecture weaves in slavery’s role," 19 Oct. 2019

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

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Liberty.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for liberty

liberty

noun
How to pronounce Liberty (audio)

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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