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

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Other Words from license

Verb

licensable \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce licensable (audio) \ adjective
licensor \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce licensor (audio) , ˌli-​sᵊn-​ˈsȯr \ or less commonly licenser \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce licenser (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bouknight was arrested following an incident on campus Sept. 27 and charged with driving without a license, driving too fast for conditions, interfering with a police officer and evading responsibility. Dom Amore, courant.com, "UConn Men notebook: Huskies look to Alterique Gilbert to lead bounce-back effort vs. Florida," 16 Nov. 2019 Over the years Koller has had his veterinary license suspended and revoked multiple times due to drug-abuse and animal-cruelty allegations. oregonlive, "Daniel Koller, Beaverton veterinarian with long history of battling animal-cruelty allegations, arrested on new abuse charges," 15 Nov. 2019 Boccio had her license suspended six months and had to pay $1,500 in fines and fees after pleading no contest to a careless driving charge, court records show. Cristóbal Reyes, orlandosentinel.com, "Osceola County Sheriff’s Office fires deputy who caused fatal crash," 12 Nov. 2019 Reacting to the Biological Resource Center case, Arizona passed a law in 2017 that says body donation companies are not allowed without a state license. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Lawyer: Plaintiffs deserve $13.2 million each in body donation case," 12 Nov. 2019 The unidentified woman was selling churros in the subway without a license and taken into custody by what appeared to be four NYPD officers. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Viral video of NYPD arresting woman selling churros in subway draws outrage," 10 Nov. 2019 Prior charges include aggravated fleeing with disregard to safety, leaving the scene of a crash, and driving without a valid license, among others. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Man who led police on chase charged with attempted murder," 9 Nov. 2019 Based on the assumption that Glover was the driver of the vehicle registered in his name, the officer stopped and arrested him for driving without a valid license. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "US Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch apparently has a sense of humor," 5 Nov. 2019 Also known as permitless carry, the law lets some Oklahomans carry a firearm in public without a license. Fox News, "Permitless gun carry in Oklahoma takes effect," 2 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And various university researchers have studied ways to leverage electricity to keep ice off aircraft, sometimes licensing their inventions to large companies. BostonGlobe.com, "If you travel enough during the winter, you’ll inevitably encounter the dreaded announcement from the cockpit: “Uh, we’re all buttoned up and ready to go. We just need to wait for the de-icing trucks to come on over and treat the airplane.”," 18 Nov. 2019 His death was announced by Iconic Images, which licenses his photos, and came five months after he was named a commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to photography. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Terry O’Neill, British photographer who captured swinging ’60s London, dies at 81," 18 Nov. 2019 There also aren't any studies that test the high-dose vaccine on younger patients, which is why the FDA only licensed the vaccines for people 65 and older. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "A super-vaccine for the flu is being marketed to people 65 and older. Is it legit or a scam?," 15 Nov. 2019 The new trailer division provides original and licensed music for film trailers and television promos. Lilly Pace, Billboard, "Executive Turntable: Moves at Universal Music Group, AWAL, AudioSalad & More," 15 Nov. 2019 Trump and his family have long had business ties in and with Turkey, the most visible example being the Trump Towers Istanbul, which licenses the Trump name. NBC News, "As prosecutors raise pressure on Turkish bank, Erdogan likely to ask Trump to go easy," 13 Nov. 2019 But, a few weeks after that, Authentic Brands licensed the magazine’s publishing rights to a company called Maven. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "The Ham-Handed, Money-Driven Mangling of Sports Illustrated and Deadspin," 3 Nov. 2019 State's role Arizona did not require Hacienda HealthCare and other intermediate care facilities to be state licensed. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Task force report recommends how to prevent what happened at Hacienda HealthCare," 2 Nov. 2019 Since placing a stalking horse bid for the retailer of around $271 million on October 16, the group had expressed intentions to downsize the business, liquidate current merchandise, and license the Barneys New York name to Saks Fifth Avenue. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Courtroom Drama Continues in Barneys New York’s Bankruptcy Case," 31 Oct. 2019

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 and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for license

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for license

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“License.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/licenced. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for license

license

noun
How to pronounce license (audio)

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 How to pronounce licence (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

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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
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

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