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

Then, just as the first driver’s licenses were being handed out to some Saudi women, two others, including the writer Nouf Abdelaziz, were also arrested. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 Federal law prohibits information on driver’s licenses to be released, but there are exemptions for entities like law enforcement, car insurers and employers who hire professional drivers. Gray Rohrer, OrlandoSentinel.com, "FDLE probes alleged misuse of driver license info," 15 June 2018 Armed with your Social Security number and birthdate, a thief can still file a bogus tax return in your name, steal your health benefits, apply for a job or get a driver’s license in your name. NBC News, "Credit freezes will soon be free for everyone," 14 June 2018 So just to review: a firearm, with appropriate license? Francisca Ortega, Houston Chronicle, "How a kitty key ring can get you in trouble in Texas," 11 July 2018 Now that the alligator has been caught, a local couple with a special license to care for exotic animals plans to find Ali a home and send her to a zoo. Indianapolis Star, "Alligator made home in Indiana pond," 11 July 2018 In Michigan, management of the state’s wildlife and natural resources is primarily funded through purchases of hunting and fishing licenses and equipment — not state taxes. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Polishing a gem: Plan aims for St. Clair-Detroit River system improvements," 10 July 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Sloan stayed at the scene, but was charged with driving with a revoked license and having a fictitious registration plate, among other charges, officials said. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "Woman charged after colliding with CMPD officer near uptown Charlotte," 6 July 2018 Now, South Korean regulators are weighing whether to strip Jin Air of an operating license for making Emily, a U.S. citizen, a board member between 2010 and 2016. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Airlines Face Operational and Familial Headwinds," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Also reviewing the case is Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses and inspects such facilities, a spokeswoman said. Linda Trischitta, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Caretaker accused of using duct tape to tie up 67-year-old woman," 13 July 2018 In the last fiscal year, the medical board, which licenses 137,967 doctors in California, put 85 doctors on probation for gross negligence. Soumya Karlamangla, latimes.com, "Leading vaccine skeptic Dr. Bob Sears put on probation by California medical board," 29 June 2018 The film is the first China release from Global Road Entertainment, which licensed the title from its Indian investor Reliance Entertainment. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "China Box Office: Indian Comedy 'Toilet: A Love Story' Tops Quiet Weekend," 11 June 2018 Phone manufacturer TCL Communication, which licenses the BlackBerry brand, unveiled the KEY2 at an event in New York City on Thursday. James Rogers, Fox News, "BlackBerry KEY2 unveiled, touts physical keyboard and touch display," 7 June 2018 The legal battle begin back in 2003, when Western Kentucky and the companies that license Big Red filed a $250 million lawsuit against Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset company, and Antonio Ricci, the creator of Gabibbo. Justin Sayers, The Courier-Journal, "Big Red to take on evil twin, Gabibbo, in Italian court — again," 6 June 2018 Williams and Connors are accused in connection with their support of legislation in 2016 that would have benefited Trina Health, a business that licensed clinics that gave intravenous insulin treatments. Mike Cason, AL.com, "Alabama lawmaker, former GOP chairman appear in federal court today," 18 Apr. 2018 In February the company, which licenses designs to Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, and others, announced a new design to help devices like security cameras and drones detect people and objects. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Thanks to AI, These Cameras Will Know What They’re Seeing," 17 Apr. 2018 In 2013, the Centre began licensing the anonymous data set for other academics to use, leading to dozens of additional research papers. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytica Years Ago," 19 June 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

9 Oct 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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