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

Drafting an advance directive is an exercise in liberty. Hui Yun Chan, Quartz, "Planning ahead for your death is surprisingly empowering," 30 Aug. 2019 The rapid growth of the program, which launched last spring, surprised some civil-liberties advocates, who believed fewer than 300 agencies had signed on. Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, "Doorbell-camera maker Ring has partnered with 400 police forces, extending surveillance reach," 28 Aug. 2019 Clearly, there's a major artistic liberty taken in the device of the two Oswalds and whatnot. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "In searching for the next ‘Hamilton,’ the makers of the musical ‘Oswald’ traverse the JFK minefield," 23 Aug. 2019 The insurgents’ goal was liberty, but unfortunately for the rebels, these uprisings came with a price. Felice León, The Root, "Three Times American Slaves Did Rebel," 5 May 2018 These protests were sparked by a bill that would have allowed the mainland regime to extradite Hong Kongers to be tried and imprisoned in China, further eroding the personal safety and liberty of 7m people. The Economist, "Protesters are fighting for an open society," 20 Aug. 2019 For too many of us throughout the land, life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "State of the Unions," 19 Aug. 2019 Writing about history is great, but a project intended to delegitimize mankind’s grandest experiment in human liberty & self-governance is divisive, yes. J. Brian Charles, Vox, "What the conservative critics of the New York Times’s 1619 Project miss.," 18 Aug. 2019 Charlotte police arrested Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo June 14 on rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges. Fox News, "ICE arrests illegal immigrant accused of rape 2 months after he was released on bond," 17 Aug. 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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Statistics for liberty

Last Updated

8 Sep 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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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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