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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lipton, who is homeless, is seeking economic and compensatory damages for his mental pain, humiliation, anxiety, loss of liberty and individual dignity. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Coast Guard vet who gives the bird to Buena Vista cops and townspeople has been arrested multiple times for it. Now, he’s suing the city.," 4 June 2019 The inalienable right to pursue it, along with life and liberty, was enshrined by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Edith Hall, WSJ, "Aristotle’s Pursuit of Happiness," 31 Jan. 2019 The lawsuit filed in 2015 argues that government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive the young people of life, liberty and property. Phuong Le, The Seattle Times, "Young climate activists say their lawsuit should go to trial," 23 Oct. 2018 We are endowed with certain unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Fox News, "Jon Voigt: Burt Reynolds, you were a true artist," 10 Sep. 2018 The Declaration of Independence promises life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Tim Lomas, BostonGlobe.com, "1,000 words for happiness," 1 July 2018 The festival seeks to unite people around the themes of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while also bringing together people of varied backgrounds and perspectives. David Karas, The Christian Science Monitor, "By The People festival seeks to bring people together," 12 June 2018 Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness make for an awful Terms of Service contract. Richard Morgan, Fortune, "Meet Ro Khanna, Silicon Valley's Man in the Middle," 29 May 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about liberty

Statistics for liberty

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for liberty

The first known use of liberty was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up liberty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!