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 license (audio) \ adjective
licensor \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce license (audio) , ˌli-​sᵊn-​ˈsȯr \ or less commonly licenser \ ˈlī-​sᵊn(t)-​sər How to pronounce license (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 woman was also charged with driving without a license. cleveland, "Stop for traffic warrant results in felony weapons arrest: Shaker Heights police blotter," 5 Mar. 2021 Federal prosecutors also have charged Lonnie Coffman, of Alabama, with possession of an unregistered firearm and carrying a pistol without a license. Rick Rouan, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Claim about FBI official who said bureau recovered no guns at Capitol riot is missing context," 4 Mar. 2021 Police charged the driver, Dillon Burgett, 29, of the 8800 block of Cherry Avenue, River Grove, on Feb. 24 with driving without a license and without insurance and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the crash, police said. Deborah Kadin, chicagotribune.com, "Truck crashes into River Grove apartment, injuring tenants, forcing evacuations," 1 Mar. 2021 Deputy District Attorney Hailey Williams alleged that Munguia was driving without a license and was going faster than 75 mph at the time of the crash. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "20-year-old driver pleads not guilty to DUI manslaughter in National City crash," 26 Feb. 2021 Some marijuana offenses will remain criminal, including drug distribution and growing cannabis plants without a license. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana," 22 Feb. 2021 Hall was arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "2 people arrested near White House had loaded gun, letter for Biden," 15 Feb. 2021 Chesa Boudin said prosecutors opted to file charges for DUI and driving without a license. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, "'A really amazing person': 26-year-old jogger killed in multi-car S.F. crash was dad with big plans," 6 Feb. 2021 In Tennessee, Republican lawmakers are expected to push again to allow most adults 21 and older to carry firearms — concealed or openly — without a license that now requires a background check and training. Fox News, "States eye allowing concealed carry of guns without a permit," 25 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some publishers, including News Corp, are in talks to license content to Google for a product called Google News Showcase, people familiar with the situation said. Keach Hagey, WSJ, "Publishers Feel Validated by States’ Google Antitrust Lawsuit," 22 Dec. 2020 Following the nearly 45-minute sermon, Dwight McKissic Sr., senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, called on the members of the Arlington church, who unanimously voted to license Bumgardner to the Gospel ministry once again. Alex Briseno, Dallas News, "Young Southern Baptist minister endorsed Joe Biden, then lost his license," 18 Dec. 2020 Aurora's original business model was to license its self-driving technology to automakers. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Uber abandons dreams of self-driving domination, sells self-driving unit," 7 Dec. 2020 But others, including Honda, Daimler and Mitsubishi, agreed to license the technology without litigation. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore-based tech firm and Abell Foundation file lawsuit against Volvo over hybrid engine technology," 28 Dec. 2020 The company also worked with a Milwaukee artist to license some of her work for earlier designs. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "What I Wear to Work (at Home): Elizabeth Rees, Founder of Chasing Paper," 28 Dec. 2020 But Microsoft's goal with Pluton is to make root of trust protections ubiquitous despite the diverse range of manufacturers who license its operating system. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Microsoft Is Making a Secure PC Chip—With Intel and AMD's Help," 17 Nov. 2020 For instance, Google requires smart-phone makers that license its Android system together to pre-install its apps as a bundle including browser and search. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Google in the Antitrust Dock," 20 Oct. 2020 Apple said the company failed to follow its obligation to license its 4G patents on fair terms. Susan Decker, Bloomberg.com, "Huawei Loses U.K. Top Court Ruling Over Global Patent Rates," 27 Aug. 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

9 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“License.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

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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 license (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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