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 News website Buzzfeed quoted an unnamed Conservative Party source as saying the party would call for a review into Channel 4's operating license, which is due for renewal in 2024, if Johnson returns to power after Dec. 12's election. NBC News, "U.K.'s Johnson replaced by ice block in TV debate, Conservatives cry foul," 29 Nov. 2019 To pick up your car, bring a valid photo ID or driver’s license, proof of current insurance, cash or major credit cards and of course your car keys. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "St. Paul declares snow emergency, just in time for the holiday. Here’s what you need to know for the snow season.," 27 Nov. 2019 The state also requires that all judges have a law license. Joseph Cranney, ProPublica, "These Judges Can Have Less Training Than Barbers but Still Decide Thousands of Cases Each Year," 27 Nov. 2019 The woman said the purse contained a cell phone, her driver’s license, credit cards and various other personal items. John Benson, cleveland, "Thief steals purse from unlocked vehicle parked at local church: Brooklyn Police Blotter," 20 Nov. 2019 There is no record of Garrett having a license to carry a handgun, according to court documents. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Man accused of shooting Fishers K9 cursed dog, made gun noises after arrest, police say," 14 Nov. 2019 Even mundane objects, like a driver’s license, contain hidden secrets. Wired, "It's Time to Rethink Your Data—Including Your Smell Data," 8 Nov. 2019 Because Stanley Marketplace has a common consumption liquor license, drinking-age adults will be allowed to bring in beverages from other establishments in the building, according to this week’s announcement. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "“Vintage-inspired” arcade to power up in Stanley Marketplace space now home to Infinite Monkey Theorem wine taproom," 24 Oct. 2019 Even though the clinic has complied with the state's requirements for obtaining the license, the state hasn't made a decision, despite having applied over three years ago, said Petrice Sams-Abiodun, at the New Orleans clinic. Kate Smith, CBS News, "Louisiana could become the first state without abortion access as soon as next year," 18 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The European Commission granted marketing authorization to Merck’s vaccine, known as Ervebo, on Monday, less than a month after the European Medicines Agency recommended it be licensed. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Ebola vaccine approved in Europe in landmark moment in fight against a deadly disease," 11 Nov. 2019 Preschools are regulated and inspected by the state department of education, unless they are licensed by the Department of Job and Family Services. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "Achieving uniform lead-safety rules for child care centers is complicated, advocates say," 10 Nov. 2019 The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology was not aware of the allegations against former priest William Finger when he was licensed as a counselor in 2012. Anchorage Daily News, "Without oversight, scores of accused priests commit crimes," 5 Oct. 2019 Red Boat seats about 67 people comfortably though they are licensed for 93. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Red Boat Asian Fusion restaurant sails into West Boca Raton," 27 Sep. 2019 It is licensed, bonded and insured, and employees strive to provide professional service. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Plumbing business focuses on customer service, education," 19 Sep. 2019 Under current law, a physician licensed to practice medicine in Arkansas can perform abortions. Andrew Demillo, The Denver Post, "Judge temporarily blocks new Arkansas anti-abortion laws," 24 July 2019 Under current Arkansas law, a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state can perform abortions. Andrew Demillo, BostonGlobe.com, "Judge temporarily blocks new Arkansas anti-abortion laws," 24 July 2019 Under current Arkansas law, a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state can perform abortions. Los Angeles Times, "Judge temporarily blocks new Arkansas antiabortion laws," 24 July 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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“License.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license. Accessed 11 December 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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