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

Delaware State Police have indefinitely suspended the license of the Little People Child Development Center. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "Delaware day care worker charged with murder in death of 4-month-old under her watch," 8 Sep. 2019 The Office of Childcare Licensing has suspended the license of the center indefinitely. Isabel Hughes, USA TODAY, "Child care worker charged with killing infant who wouldn't stop crying," 6 Sep. 2019 Naperville has opted to not allow the sale of recreational marijuana when Mary Jane becomes legal in January, despite the fact that a shop in the city has been granted one of the very first licenses to sell the product to the public. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "tl;dr: Naperville children shouldn’t know what weed smells like, Starbucks runs out of scones, the Bears embarrass themselves," 6 Sep. 2019 Jazwares won the license last year to produce toys for Fortnite, the popular shooting game owned by Epic Games Inc. Los Angeles Times, "Toymaker Jakks Pacific gets a takeover offer from Jazwares’ parent," 5 Sep. 2019 How about being that rare coach’s son who never knew the license that comes with playing quarterback for his father? Les Carpenter, The Denver Post, "Case Keenum is an unwanted QB who keeps winning jobs. He “wouldn’t have it any other way.”," 5 Sep. 2019 The first liquor license was issued to a bar at the 300 W. 30th St. location in 1934, according to a history on The Dizz’s website. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Formerly for sale, The Dizz closes in Remington," 4 Sep. 2019 The State Medical Board revoked the license of John Temponeras. John Caniglia, cleveland.com, "‘Unfathomable’: How 1.6 million pills from a small-town doctor helped fuel the opioid crisis in Ohio," 1 Sep. 2019 The Office of Child Care had revoked the license of a day care operated by the Joneses in April 2017 after state child welfare investigators concluded that children were given without their parents’ consent. oregonlive.com, "Two caregivers plead guilty to charges tied to baby’s death at Hood River day care," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The company argues that, for example, their contract with Soundgarden is triggered by royalty money from uses from masters licensed by UMG to others -- not settlement and insurance payments. Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard, "Soundgarden Hits Back at Universal Music Group, Demanding Proof Masters Weren't Lost in 2008 Fire," 4 Sep. 2019 The governor also ordered the mandatory medical evacuation for health care facilities licensed by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control. Fox News, "As Dorian nears, hurricane warning issued for parts of Florida; evacuations ordered on South Carolina coast," 2 Sep. 2019 Since then, numerous nonprofits around the state, including American Legions and Catholic churches and schools, have begun running their own games, which are allowed by state law but must be licensed by local authorities. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "At the McHenry VFW Queen of Hearts raffle Tuesday night, they won’t stop drawing tickets until there’s a $2.7 million grand prize winner," 26 Aug. 2019 Becerra will also take issue with a key change sought by the Department of Homeland Security, eliminating the requirement that immigrant detention facilities be licensed by the states where they are located. Alexei Koseff, SFChronicle.com, "California to sue over Trump plan to hold immigrant children indefinitely," 26 Aug. 2019 The Flores agreement said all facilities holding children for longer than 20 days must be licensed by states. Julia Ainsley, NBC News, "Trump administration to lift limit on how long it can detain migrant families," 21 Aug. 2019 Homes with four or more residents must be licensed by the state; those with three or less are typically unlicensed, but don't dismiss them, advises Laurie Brownlow, founder of iNavigate Senior Living Solutions. Mary Jacobs, Dallas News, "The cost conundrum: Once you find the right elder care, do the research to pay for it," 20 Aug. 2019 Under state law, an administrator must report to the state if an investigation is done into any person employed by an educational agency and licensed by the state. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ex-Oconomowoc teacher accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student surrenders his teaching license," 8 Aug. 2019 In Iran, all music must be approved and licensed by the government, and heavy metal is forbidden. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Iranian metalheads avoid prison, commence rocking Norway," 3 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

17 Sep 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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