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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Musser has four children and is working on getting the city license to have as many as eight. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Aug. 2022 Every company is different and there are critical choices to make to meet carbon reduction goals, manage relationships, and maintain the license to operate. Judy Samuelson, Quartz, 6 Aug. 2022 Indiana officials have indefinitely suspended the license of the Jeffersonville funeral home where 31 decomposing bodies were found in early July. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, 5 Aug. 2022 Darius Washington, 31, of the 3900 block of W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, was charged with driving while license suspended and improper lane usage, at 8:50 p.m. July 25. Pioneer Press Staff, Chicago Tribune, 5 Aug. 2022 The Hall of Fame Village is the only applicant for the single license permitted in Stark County, under an allocation system based on population. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 30 July 2022 While Feeney is a co-founder of the Grovehouse hospitality group, along with Lilia’s and Misi’s chef-owner Missy Robbins, the liquor license for Fini was requested in association with LFG Pizza. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 21 July 2022 After getting the license, Lopez and Affleck eloped at A Little White Wedding Chapel in Sin City late Saturday evening. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, 19 July 2022 The license was issued to Benjamin Geza Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who was also listed as Jennifer Affleck. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 17 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the reason there's so much interest in slapping NASA logos on everything from Vans sneakers to trucker hats may have something to do with the fact that these companies don't have to license the logo. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 23 July 2022 Kodak and Polaroid have also exited the business completely, opting instead to license their names. Chris Morris, Fortune, 12 July 2022 The annual event connects owners of intellectual property with people who want to license that property, giving the two groups a space to show off their latest characters and products, network with each other and, ultimately, make deals. New York Times, 8 July 2022 So how does a company that wants to license music actually go about doing it? Jeff Yasuda, Forbes, 7 July 2022 Seminole residents no longer have to license their pets with the county after commissioners without comment on Tuesday did away with the decades-old requirement. Martin E. Comas, Orlando Sentinel, 28 June 2022 And so many of those companies don’t want to license their images and their names and their likeness. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 22 June 2022 The singer is not one to license music for film or television, but her personal fandom of the show led her to make an exception. Katrina Nattress, SPIN, 12 June 2022 There weren’t many other alternatives and content makers were willing to license their libraries. Walter Frick, Quartz, 8 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About license

Time Traveler for license

Time Traveler

The first known use of license was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near license

lice

license

licensed

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Statistics for license

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“License.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/license. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for license

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on license

Nglish: Translation of license for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of license for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about license

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