license

noun
li·​cense | \ ˈlī-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce license (audio) \
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

Other Words from license

Verb

licensable \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce license (audio) \ adjective
licensor \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce license (audio) , ˌli-​sᵊn-​ˈsȯr \ or less commonly licenser \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce license (audio) \ 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Give me your driver’s license, registration and insurance. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 22 June 2022 Other provisions include new federal gun-trafficking offenses and a broader definition of which gun sellers are required to register for a federal firearms license, which in turn would require them to conduct background checks on their customers. Mike Debonis, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Anchorage Daily News, 22 June 2022 Even more precisely, those customers with a Windows 10/11 Enterprise E3 (and up) license using the Azure commercial cloud with the exception of government cloud customers. Davey Winder, Forbes, 18 June 2022 Harry Gesner was an architect who didn’t have a fancy degree — nor, for many years, even an architectural license. Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 Thirty-seven states, including Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, license professional midwives, but not Massachusetts. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 13 June 2022 David Herrera, 18, of the 7300 block of S. Sacramento Avenue, Chicago, was charged with no valid driver’s license, speeding and a failure to appear warrant from Livingston County, at 8:34 a.m. Pioneer Press Staff, Chicago Tribune, 13 June 2022 Encourage safe driving: The department is encouraging residents to get their vehicle registered, obtain a driver’s license, enroll or encourage others to take driver’s education. Elliot Hughes, Journal Sentinel, 10 June 2022 While the misdemeanor conviction will not impact his firearms license, which is not set to expire until 2023, Daughtry is forbidden from possessing firearms under the terms of his probation. Chris Joyner, ajc, 9 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lastly, there is the option to license out your business name and brand to a concessionaire company that will operate the business day to day in the airport. Natallie Rocha, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 June 2022 These headphones are such a good seller and such a professional piece of kit that Sennheiser held onto the product rather than passing it on as part of the recent deal to license Sennheiser’s consumer products to Sonova AG. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 11 June 2022 Mayht isn’t looking to compete with the likes of Sonos, Apple and JBL with its Heartmotion technology, instead preferring to license its technology to firms who are already a staple in the audio market. Micah Singleton, Billboard, 6 Jan. 2022 But while BioNTech and other companies have paid to license the technology, Moderna has not — another sore point between the company and the government, a senior administration official said. New York Times, 9 Nov. 2021 Disney can take the sportsbooks’ ad money, make shows that incorporate wagering into its content lineup and even license its brand to sports betting companies. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2021 The administration has been pressing Moderna executives to increase production at U.S. plants and to license the company's technology to overseas manufacturers that could make doses for foreign markets. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 10 Oct. 2021 Media companies and studios can solve content distribution challenges by understanding what programming to create or license to maximize viewership. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 1 June 2022 Kemp signed a number of bills reflecting conservative priorities, including new voting restrictions, enabling residents to carry handguns without a background check or license, and limiting discussion about race in classrooms. Melanie Masonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2022 See More

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.

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 and Verb

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

Learn More About license

Time Traveler for license

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near license

lice

license

licensed

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Statistics for license

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“License.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for license

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 How to pronounce license (audio) \

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

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

History and Etymology for license

Noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on license

Nglish: Translation of license for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of license for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about license

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