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 list of applicants for retail licenses is down to 34 dispensaries and five delivery business. San Diego Union-Tribune, "These marijuana dispensaries and delivery businesses are still competing for licenses in Chula Vista," 17 Sep. 2019 Karton suggested that the village should wait until 2022 to revisit the issue, which would align with the end of the state’s timeline to release recreational cannabis licenses. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Glenview trustees want to ‘say no right now’ to cannabis-selling businesses in the village, may revisit after seeing impact on other towns," 17 Sep. 2019 While thousands of applications rolled in, only a few dozen had the one crucial qualification: a valid U.S. Coast Guard license. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Gov. Newsom has some decisions to make," 16 Sep. 2019 Upon arrival the officer met with the victim who stated an unknown person stole her cellphone along with her driver’s license and credit/debit cards. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 16 Sep. 2019 The truck will serve any veteran who shows a form of veterans I.D., for example a VA card, a Connecticut driver’s license with the flag, a DD214 or veterans military retirement card. courant.com, "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 16 Sep. 2019 For example, the county has a deficit of low-cost housing for seniors and could do with more transportation options for those who might no longer have drivers licenses, Riley said. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Population of Baltimore County expected to be 25% senior citizens by next year, officials say," 16 Sep. 2019 What this audience wanted was license to watch television while holding themselves superior to the kinds of people who watched television. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 The city of Gulf Shores is expected to approve a license and operating agreement between Sky Warriors Flight Training and the Airport Authority at Jack Edwards National Airport. Kathy Jumper, al, "Investors buy industrial property," 15 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The state will regulate and license the recreational cannabis businesses, said village attorney Julie Tappendorf, adding that the law states there has to be 1,500 feet between cannabis businesses. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Glenview trustees want to ‘say no right now’ to cannabis-selling businesses in the village, may revisit after seeing impact on other towns," 17 Sep. 2019 Yu licensed Space Jockey to his company and prepared to put it on the market. David L. Craddock, Ars Technica, "How a basement hacker transformed Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600," 14 Sep. 2019 Cannabis data company BDS Analytics says vapes represented 14% of sales in Colorado's licensed marijuana stores in 2018, rising to 18% for this year to date. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Pick up a joint instead, doc says: Vaping illnesses highlight flawed marijuana regulations," 13 Sep. 2019 By comparison, only 873 cannabis sellers in the state are licensed, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Nearly 3,000 illegal marijuana businesses found in California audit, dwarfing legal trade," 11 Sep. 2019 Neural implants, and external interfaces, have already been licensed in the world of medicine and are being used to treat medical conditions from strokes to epilepsy. Dominic Rech, CNN, "Brain implants could give governments and companies power to read your mind, scientists warn," 10 Sep. 2019 The camps, being licensed, have to abide by state vaccination regulations. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "The Message of Measles," 26 Aug. 2019 All the other Disney merchandise out there sold by other retailers is licensed. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "How will Target's new Disney shops compare with J.C. Penney's," 26 Aug. 2019 But no state had licensed a family center for immigrant families. Julia Ainsley, NBC News, "Trump administration to lift limit on how long it can detain migrant families," 21 Aug. 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

9 Oct 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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