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 moral preference for liberty and individual rights that the social psychologists found to be common among skeptics has been strengthened by the country’s deepening political polarization. New York Times, "Vaccine Skepticism Was Viewed as a Knowledge Problem. It’s Actually About Gut Beliefs.," 29 Apr. 2021 Our nation has skilled and committed police officers, but also those who operate in their roles with bias and without regard for human life and liberty. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah leaders and groups react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial," 20 Apr. 2021 According to the 14th Amendment, the State cannot deprive us of life or liberty. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Ramsey City Council member blasted over comments about Japanese Americans," 15 Mar. 2021 Last week was a bad week for democracy, and for liberty globally - but hopefully a wake-up call for all of us. Norman Anderson, Forbes, "AI & The Biden Infrastructure Plan - How To Invest In Our Future," 9 Mar. 2021 America stands for liberty and freedom, and democracy will always prevail. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "World leaders react to Wednesday's pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol," 7 Jan. 2021 Rules designed to provide Black Americans with equal access to life and liberty — the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, school and housing desegregation — have met with severe backlash in the post-civil rights era. Washington Post, "The civil rights era was supposed to drastically change America. It didn’t.," 23 Dec. 2020 The lawsuit claims the deputy violated Womack's constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, which protect against unreasonable searches and deprivation of life and liberty. CBS News, "Disturbing video shows deputy "intentionally" running over Black man, lawsuit claims," 18 Dec. 2020 In addition to editing the collection, Speed wrote the introduction and the essay on María Concepción Acevedo de la Llata, a nun known as Madre Conchita who advocated for the rights of indigenous Mexicans and for religious liberty. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "New book ‘Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico’ reclaims ‘names that should be known’ for history," 1 Dec. 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Liberty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberty. Accessed 14 May. 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

Comments on liberty

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