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 The answer will have broad consequences for future outbreaks, perhaps putting large-scale quarantines back on the list of health officials’ epidemic countermeasures, including in countries that value individual liberties more than China does. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Once widely criticized, the Wuhan quarantine bought the world time to prepare for Covid-19," 21 Feb. 2020 Williams is the most recent among generations of black authors who have flirted with equating individual liberty with a rejection of racial identity. Emily Bernard, Harper's magazine, "Autobiography of an Ex-Black Man," 25 Nov. 2019 Reared on decades of fighting for individual liberty and capitalism against dictatorships and collectivism since the 1930s, their politics moulded by the spectre of Auschwitz and the gulags, such ideological defensiveness is perhaps understandable. The Economist, "Climate, freedom and denial: What “Green Thatcherism” teaches us today," 22 Nov. 2019 In a riveting speech, the Gold Star father, who lost his son in the Iraq war, spoke of patriotism, sacrifice, and the true meaning of liberty. Phillip Morris, cleveland.com, "Khizr Khan, a Gold Star Father and a great American: Phillip Morris," 18 Sep. 2019 Dawn of revolution Beethoven was 18 in the summer of 1789 when astonishing news reached Bonn: The storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14 had ushered in a new order based on revolutionary principles of individual liberty and rights. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019 Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next. Alex Griswold, National Review, "No, the Constitution Doesn’t Allow Romney to Be Recalled," 6 Feb. 2020 China's communist party managed to overcome this obstacle through rapid economic growth, but scaling back political liberties isn't a sign the regime believes its footing is sound. Shay Khatiri, TheWeek, "America is doing so much better than you think," 2 Feb. 2020 Lee, however, has argued the law would better protect religious liberty. Washington Post, "Emails: Companies urged gov to veto anti-LGBT adoption law," 30 Jan. 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.

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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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Liberty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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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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