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

Noun

licensed \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)st How to pronounce licensed (audio) \ adjective

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

Aebersold became a licensed practical nurse in 2009, but her license expired on Oct. 31, 2018 and has not been renewed, according to a state registry. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Summit County nurse accused of stealing pain medications from Alliance nursing home," 14 June 2019 His license is suspended due to a previous OVI, so relatives help him get around. cincinnati.com, "From the Editor: Until you experience it, it's hard to comprehend the hidden costs of being poor," 13 June 2019 According to a court records, Garmon sued the Alabama Department of Public Safety earlier this year after the department suspended his driver’s license. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al.com, "Trenton Garmon denies wrongdoing in arrest, says he uses medical marijuana," 12 June 2019 Put it online with a Creative Commons Attribution license. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "The Vessel, New York City's Newest Tourist Trap, Plans to Use Your Photos as Marketing Fodder," 19 Mar. 2019 This rule only applies to photos that were uploaded with a Creative Commons license before the deadline. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Flickr promises it won’t delete Creative Commons photos when it limits free storage," 7 Nov. 2018 The daughter of Haitian immigrants first flew solo at age 16 and earned her private pilot’s license at age 17. Danielle Williams, SELF, "11 Adventurous Moms Worth Following on Instagram," 20 May 2019 There’s similar evidence for Massachusetts’s gun license system. German Lopez, Vox, "The Trump administration just banned bump stocks for guns," 18 Dec. 2018 Still, the schedule hasn't changed much since November 2016, when SpaceX's FCC license application mentioned 2019 as a possible time for launching satellites into orbit. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "SpaceX raising $500 million to help build satellite broadband network," 18 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Farmers will need to undergo background checks and licensing under a Texas statute that is more stringent than other states’ rules. Lynn Brezosky, ExpressNews.com, "Texas farmers ready for catch-up mode in global hemp race," 17 June 2019 The Alameda County district attorney’s office built its case around the perilous conditions in a warehouse not designed or licensed as a living space or music venue. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "The Scanner: Ghost Ship defendant to testify, SF public defender’s spokeswoman shown the door," 17 June 2019 The nation's more than 160 licensed shelters for unaccompanied children are subject to inspections by state child welfare authorities. CBS News, "Protesters brave drenching downpour outside South Florida detention center for kids," 16 June 2019 The state restricted the number of businesses licensed to sell to those patients. Alicia Wallace, CNN, "MedMen expands its cannabis retail empire to Florida," 14 June 2019 He is neutered, up to date on vaccinations, microchipped, and licensed with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Sir Didymus and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 14 June 2019 The statement also called for a pause of licensing new pot stores to review the state’s social equity program, which the group described as targeting minority neighborhoods for pot shops. Naomi Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Cannabis advocates rally in rebuttal to ‘Prohibition 2.0’," 12 June 2019 Dry flotation is different than float therapy, says Carolyn Holdsworth, licensed esthetician and Executive Director of Salt Spa. Sheila Cosgrove Baylis, PEOPLE.com, "We Tried It: A Dry Flotation Treatment That's More Relaxing Than a Massage," 12 June 2019 In Mobile, state law written in the 1990s bans topless or nude dancing in clubs licensed to sell liquor. al.com, "Mobile revokes business license from strip club operator," 11 June 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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Statistics for license

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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 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

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

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