license

noun
li·cense | \ ˈlī-sᵊn(t)s \
variants: or licence

Definition of license 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : permission to act

b : freedom of action

2a : a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful a hunting license

b : a document, plate, or tag evidencing a license granted

c : a grant by the holder of a copyright or patent to another of any of the rights embodied in the copyright or patent short of an assignment of all rights

3a : freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility Freedom of the press should not be turned into license.

b : disregard for standards of personal conduct : licentiousness

4 : deviation from fact, form, or rule by an artist or writer for the sake of the effect gained poetic license

license

verb
variants: or less commonly licence
licensed also licenced; licensing also licencing

Definition of license (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to issue a license to

b : to permit or authorize especially by formal license

2 : to give permission or consent to : allow

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Other words from license

Noun

licensed \ˈlī-sᵊn(t)st \ adjective

Verb

licensable \ˈlī-sᵊn(t)-sə-bəl \ adjective
licensor \ˈlī-sᵊn(t)-sər, ˌli-sᵊn-ˈsȯr \ or less commonly licenser \ˈlī-sᵊn(t)-sər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for license

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

The Shared Roots of license and licentious

License and licentious come ultimately from the same word in Latin, licentia, whose meanings ranged from "freedom to act" to "unruly behavior, wantonness." The Latin noun was itself derived from the verb licere "to be permitted." Though we are likely to associate license with the card that grants freedom or permission to operate a motor vehicle and licentious with sexual wantonness, in actuality, there is considerable semantic overlap between the two words. Poetic license refers to deviation from a (usually) literary norm for some purposeful effect. A person who takes license with something (or someone) engages in "abusive disregard for rules of personal conduct." Hence, the semantic range of license in English mirrors that of its Latin antecedent, suggesting either permission or transgression, depending upon the context. Licentious, on the other hand, always implies excessive, transgressive freedom, as is true of its immediate Latin source, licentiosus "unrestrained, wanton" (literally, "full of freedom").

Examples of license in a Sentence

Noun

The restaurant's owner applied for a license to sell liquor. His job as a reporter gives him license to go anywhere and ask anything.

Verb

The restaurant has now been licensed to sell liquor. a new drug licensed by the government The company licensed its name to others.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Federal prosecutors say Tijuana resident Andres Avelino Anduaga, 66, somehow obtained a U.S. citizen’s birth certificate in 1980, and then used that identification to obtain a social security number and California driver’s license. Alex Riggins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Man who stole government benefits for 37 years is sentenced to 37 months in federal prison," 14 July 2018 His license agreement with the transportation agency states that the master leaseholder is responsible for repairs to the shops, but not the bridge components. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "A Bridge, the Rickety Heart of Kew Gardens, Gets a Reprieve," 12 July 2018 But that claim contradicted the officer’s own account, which noted T.D. had no valid driver’s license and was driving a BMW with temporary tags. Charles Rabin, Jay Weaver And David Ovalle, miamiherald, "The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on blacks, probe found," 12 July 2018 To get the federally compliant driver’s licenses, applicants need to appear in person with a variety of documents. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "DMV investigates startup that has disrupted appointment process," 11 July 2018 While working to become a citizen, Lebenibze obtained a commercial driver’s license and works as a long-haul truck driver. David Owens, courant.com, "50 Immigrants From 22 Nations Become U.S. Citizens In A Ceremony Before The Fourth Of July Yard Goats Game," 4 July 2018 Many have no family or support networks and need help with basic tasks like setting up bank accounts, getting driver’s licenses and finding places to live. New York Times, "Why New Zealand Is Furious About Australia’s Deportations Policy," 3 July 2018 Some states provide only driver’s licenses and other states have prohibited the use altogether. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Police used facial recognition technology to help identify uncooperative suspect in Capital Gazette shooting," 29 June 2018 For previous generations, access to a car and a driver’s license were the ultimate symbols of freedom. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Five dead in Annapolis shooting, Philly heat wave arrives as some 'hoods get hotter | Morning Newsletter," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some study leaders have formed a company that licenses patents on the treatment from Duke. Marilynn Marchione, The Seattle Times, "Enemy turned ally: Poliovirus is used to fight brain tumors," 26 June 2018 This hospital was named after the first Native American licensed to practice medicine in the USA. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "These are the USA's 11 most endangered historic places," 26 June 2018 Casa Padre doubled its population over that period, from 542 to 1,006, according to a monthly census by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the agency that licenses such shelters. Michael Miller, Emma Brown And Aaron C. Davis, star-telegram, "Inside a former Walmart on the Texas-Mexico border that holds nearly 1,500 immigrant boys," 16 June 2018 Three men tried to use a fake Florida drivers license to again access to a bank account in Harris County that had more than $200,000, law enforcement officials said. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Fake Florida ID tied to Harris County fraud case," 12 July 2018 Lickerish is suing Z Lifestyle (WorldLifeStyle.com) and alleging the human interest entertainment website used the photos, which, according to the complaint, have never been licensed. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Judge Allows Lawsuit Over Risque Melania Trump Photos," 12 July 2018 The state health department hasn't responded to multiple requests to address whether the facility should have been licensed. Agnel Philip, azcentral, "What we know (and don't) about the unlicensed Phoenix facility where migrant kids were held," 10 July 2018 China requires foreign tech firms that want to do business in the country to partner with domestic companies and share or license their intellectual property with those partners. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Ex-Apple Employee Accused of Stealing Self-Driving Car Tech," 10 July 2018 Anyone licensed to prescribe medications can prescribe this medication — no special training required. Patrick Skerrett, STAT, "Hey, doctors: Why aren’t you stepping up to treat people with opioid addiction?," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'license.' 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 license

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for license

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French licence, from Latin licentia, from licent-, licens, present participle of licēre to be permitted

Verb

see license entry 1

Noun

Anglo-French, literally, permission, from Old French, from Latin licentia, from licent- licens, present participle of licēre to be permitted, be for sale

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Statistics for license

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for license

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

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More Definitions for license

license

noun

English Language Learners Definition of license

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an official document, card, etc., that gives you permission to do, use, or have something

: freedom to act however you want to

: the freedom of an artist, writer, etc., to change the way something is described or shown in order to produce a work of art

license

verb

English Language Learners Definition of license (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give official permission to (someone or something) to do or use something : to give a license to (someone or something)

: to give official permission for (something)

: to allow the use of (a name, property, etc.) through a formal agreement

license

noun
li·cense
variants: or licence \ˈlī-sᵊns \

Kids Definition of license

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : permission to do something granted especially by qualified authority a license to sell food

2 : a paper, card, or tag showing legal permission a driver's license

3 : freedom of action that is carried too far Bitterly did she repent the license she had given her imagination. —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

license

verb
variants: also licence
licensed also licenced; licensing also licencing

Kids Definition of license (Entry 2 of 2)

: to grant formal permission

license

noun
li·cense
variants: or chiefly British licence \ˈlīs-ᵊn(t)s \

Medical Definition of license 

: a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful a license to practice medicine

Other words from license

license or chiefly British licence transitive verb licensed or chiefly British licenced; licensing or chiefly British licencing

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license

noun
li·cense | \ ˈlīs-ᵊns \

Legal Definition of license 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a right or permission granted by a competent authority (as of a government or a business) to engage in some business or occupation, do some act, or engage in some transaction which would be unlawful without such right or permission also : a document, plate, or tag evidencing a license granted

b : revocable authority or permission given solely to one having no possessory rights in a tract of land to do something on that land which would otherwise be unlawful or a trespass — compare easement, lease

c : a grant by the holder of a copyright or patent to another of any of the rights embodied in the copyright or patent short of an assignment of all rights

2 : a defense (as to trespass) that one's act was in accordance with a license granted

3a : freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility

b : disregard for standards of personal conduct : licentiousness

license

transitive verb
licensed; licensing

Legal Definition of license (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to issue a license to

2 : to permit or authorize by a license

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Comments on license

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