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 The South Dakota native took out his trainer's license at age 16 in 1969 and opened his own stable in 1978. Kelly Ward, The Courier-Journal, "Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott gets victory at Churchill Downs for 5,000th win," 21 June 2020 Latino students brought to this country as children by their parents — to apply for a program that gave them a two-year reprieve from concerns about deportation and the chance to receive a work permit and a driver’s license. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: DACA court decision was a major gift to Biden," 20 June 2020 The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Hill's law license for 30 days after finding the allegations, which Hill has vehemently denied, credible. Chris Sikich, The Indianapolis Star, "Curtis Hill defends himself and 6 other takeaways from Indiana Republican convention," 19 June 2020 The state Liquor Authority now has the power to immediately revoke a liquor license from a bar or restaurant found to not comply with the state’s reopening plan. Steve Bittenbender, Washington Examiner, "Cuomo considers 14-day quarantine for those arriving in New York from Florida," 19 June 2020 Those without accounts must either visit a license agent or wait until Monday and call the department (1-503-947-6101). oregonlive, "Oregon big-game hunting tag draw results to be posted Saturday," 19 June 2020 Residents may fish without the need to buy a fishing license in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River, during this weekend. cleveland, "Catfishing a treat for local kids: Northeast Ohio fishing report for Thursday, June 19," 18 June 2020 In 2015, Germans were consumed by a proposal that would require people to obtain a license before being allowed to board one of the country’s antique paternosters. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "Covid-19 is a problem for elevators. Is the paternoster lift the solution?," 18 June 2020 Register a voter without first obtaining an official registrar license? David Litt, Time, "The Racist History of Voter Registration," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The company was preparing to start trials this fall of another site for opioid use, and seeking to license a third for depression. Tom Simonite, Wired, "The Therapist Is In—and It's a Chatbot App," 17 June 2020 The announcement is likely to include, among other things, a proposal to create a state board to license law-enforcement officers in Ohio the same way teachers, nurses and other professionals are licensed. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Ohio police-reform package to be unveiled by Gov. Mike DeWine, AG Dave Yost: Watch live," 17 June 2020 Newsweek asked to license the image, but McGucken turned down their offer. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Instagram just threw users of its embedding API under the bus," 4 June 2020 In 2015, Amrock entered into an agreement to license HouseCanary's proprietary appraisal software. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "Appeals court overturns record $706M San Antonio jury verdict," 3 June 2020 But first, the USDA must license Tiger King Park and approve the transfer of cats there. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Court orders 'Tiger King' zoo to be surrendered, but its animals remain in limbo," 2 June 2020 Bollinger could license the features if the third-party vehicles using them don't compete directly with the company's own trucks and SUVs. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Bollinger Patents Clever Frunkgate, Pass-Through for EV Utility Vehicles," 2 June 2020 The Sergeants Benevolent Society tweeted out an internal arrest report, which contained her drivers license and address, something the NYPD does not usually do. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Bill de Blasio Has Failed," 2 June 2020 According to owner Ian Cameron, Lochiel Brewing will clear out its old taproom to make room for a bottling machine and will self-distribute its beer to retailers licensed to sell liquor in the state. Nicole Ludden, azcentral, "'We couldn’t afford to wait:' Why one Mesa brewery closed its taproom to focus on bottling," 30 May 2020

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

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“License.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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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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