Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Free

Free

(frē)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Freer
(-ẽr)
;
sup
erl.
Freest
(-ĕst)
.]
[OE.
fre
,
freo
, AS.
freó
,
frī
; akin to D.
vrij
, OS. & OHG.
frī
, G.
frei
, Icel.
frī
, Sw. & Dan.
fri
, Goth.
freis
, and also to Skr.
prija
beloved, dear, fr.
prī
to love, Goth.
frijōn
. Cf.
Affray
,
Belfry
,
Friday
,
Friend
,
Frith
inclosure.]
1.
Exempt from subjection to the will of others; not under restraint, control, or compulsion; able to follow one’s own impulses, desires, or inclinations; determining one's own course of action; not dependent; at liberty.
That which has the power, or not the power, to operate, is that alone which is or is not
free
.
Locke.
2.
Not under an arbitrary or despotic government; subject only to fixed laws regularly and fairly administered, and defended by them from encroachments upon natural or acquired rights; enjoying political liberty.
3.
Liberated, by arriving at a certain age, from the control of parents, guardian, or master.
4.
Not confined or imprisoned; released from arrest; liberated; at liberty to go.
Set an unhappy prisoner
free
.
Prior.
5.
Not subjected to the laws of physical necessity; capable of voluntary activity; endowed with moral liberty; – said of the will.
Not
free
, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love.
Milton.
6.
Clear of offense or crime; guiltless; innocent.
My hands are guilty, but my heart is
free
.
Dryden.
7.
Unconstrained by timidity or distrust; unreserved; ingenuous; frank; familiar; communicative.
He was
free
only with a few.
Milward.
8.
Unrestrained; immoderate; lavish; licentious; – used in a bad sense.
The critics have been very
free
in their censures.
Felton.
A man may live a
free
life as to wine or women.
Shelley.
9.
Not close or parsimonious; liberal; open-handed; lavish;
as,
free
with his money
.
10.
Exempt; clear; released; liberated; not encumbered or troubled with;
as,
free
from pain;
free
from a burden
; – followed by from, or, rarely, by of.
Princes declaring themselves
free
from the obligations of their treaties.
Bp. Burnet.
11.
Characteristic of one acting without restraint; charming; easy.
12.
Ready; eager; acting without spurring or whipping; spirited;
as, a
free
horse
.
13.
Invested with a particular freedom or franchise; enjoying certain immunities or privileges; admitted to special rights; – followed by of.
He therefore makes all birds, of every sect,
Free
of his farm.
Dryden.
14.
Thrown open, or made accessible, to all; to be enjoyed without limitations; unrestricted; not obstructed, engrossed, or appropriated; open; – said of a thing to be possessed or enjoyed;
as, a
free
school
.
Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as
free

For me as for you?
Shakespeare
15.
Not gained by importunity or purchase; gratuitous; spontaneous;
as,
free
admission; a
free
gift.
16.
Not arbitrary or despotic; assuring liberty; defending individual rights against encroachment by any person or class; instituted by a free people; – said of a government, institutions, etc.
17.
(O. Eng. Law)
Certain or honorable; the opposite of
base
;
as,
free
service;
free
socage.
Burrill.
18.
(Law)
Privileged or individual; the opposite of common;
as, a
free
fishery; a
free
warren.
Burrill.
19.
Not united or combined with anything else; separated; dissevered; unattached; at liberty to escape;
as,
free
carbonic acid gas;
free
cells.
Free agency
,
the capacity or power of choosing or acting freely, or without necessity or constraint upon the will.
Free bench
(Eng. Law)
,
a widow's right in the copyhold lands of her husband, corresponding to dower in freeholds.
Free board
(Naut.)
,
a vessel's side between water line and gunwale.
Free bond
(Chem.)
,
an unsaturated or unemployed unit, or bond, of affinity or valence, of an atom or radical.
Free-borough men
(O.Eng. Law)
.
See
Friborg
.
Free chapel
(Eccles.)
,
a chapel not subject to the jurisdiction of the ordinary, having been founded by the king or by a subject specially authorized.
[Eng.]
Bouvier.
Free charge
(Elec.)
,
a charge of electricity in the free or statical condition; free electricity.
Free church
.
(a)
A church whose sittings are for all and without charge.
(b)
An ecclesiastical body that left the Church of Scotland, in 1843, to be free from control by the government in spiritual matters.
Free city
, or
Free town
,
a city or town independent in its government and franchises, as formerly those of the Hanseatic league.
Free cost
,
freedom from charges or expenses.
South.
Free and easy
,
unconventional; unrestrained; regardless of formalities.
[Colloq.]
“Sal and her free and easy ways.”
W. Black.
Free goods
,
goods admitted into a country free of duty.
Free labor
,
the labor of freemen, as distinguished from that of slaves.
Free port
.
(Com.)
(a)
A port where goods may be received and shipped free of custom duty.
(b)
A port where goods of all kinds are received from ships of all nations at equal rates of duty.
Free public house
,
in England, a tavern not belonging to a brewer, so that the landlord is free to brew his own beer or purchase where he chooses.
Simmonds.
Free school
.
(a)
A school to which pupils are admitted without discrimination and on an equal footing.
(b)
A school supported by general taxation, by endowmants, etc., where pupils pay nothing for tuition; a public school.
Free services
(O.Eng. Law)
,
such feudal services as were not unbecoming the character of a soldier or a freemen to perform; as, to serve under his lord in war, to pay a sum of money, etc.
Burrill.
Free ships
,
ships of neutral nations, which in time of war are free from capture even though carrying enemy's goods.
Free socage
(O.Eng. Law)
,
a feudal tenure held by certain services which, though honorable, were not military.
Abbott.
Free States
,
those of the United States before the Civil War, in which slavery had ceased to exist, or had never existed.
Free stuff
(Carp.)
,
timber free from knots; clear stuff.
Free thought
,
that which is thought independently of the authority of others.
Free trade
,
commerce unrestricted by duties or tariff regulations.
Free trader
,
one who believes in free trade.
To make free with
,
to take liberties with; to help one's self to.
[Colloq.]
To sail free
(Naut.)
,
to sail with the yards not braced in as sharp as when sailing closehauled, or close to the wind.

Free

,
adv.
1.
Freely; willingly.
[Obs.]
I as
free
forgive you
As I would be forgiven.
Shakespeare
2.
Without charge;
as, children admitted
free
.

Free

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Freed
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Freeing
.]
[OE.
freen
,
freoien
, AS.
freógan
. See
Free
,
Adj.
]
1.
To make free; to set at liberty; to rid of that which confines, limits, embarrasses, oppresses, etc.; to release; to disengage; to clear; – followed by from, and sometimes by off;
as, to
free
a captive or a slave; to be
freed
of these inconveniences.
Clarendon.
Our land is from the rage of tigers
freed
.
Dryden.
Arise, . . .
free
thy people from their yoke.
Milton.
2.
To remove, as something that confines or bars; to relieve from the constraint of.
This master key
Frees
every lock, and leads us to his person.
Dryden.
3.
To frank.
[Obs.]
Johnson.

Webster 1828 Edition


Free

FREE

,
Noun.
[Heb. See Frank.]
1.
Being at liberty; not being under necessity or restraint, physical or moral; a word of general application to the body, the will or mind, and to corporations.
2.
In government, not enslaved; not in a state of vassalage or dependence; subject only to fixed laws, made by consent, and to a regular administration of such laws; not subject to the arbitrary will of a sovereign or lord; as a free state, nation or people.
3.
Instituted by a free people, or by consent or choice of those who are to be subjects, and securing private rights and privileges by fixed laws and principles; not arbitrary or despotic; as a free constitution or government.
There can be no free government without a democratical branch in the constitution.
4.
Not imprisoned, confined or under arrest; as, the prisoner is set free.
5.
Unconstrained; unrestrained; not under compulsion or control. A man is free to pursue his own choice; he enjoys free will.
6.
Permitted; allowed; open; not appropriated; as, places of honor and confidence are free to all; we seldom hear of a commerce perfectly free.
7.
Not obstructed; as, the water has a free passage or channel; the house is open to a free current of air.
8.
Licentious; unrestrained. The reviewer is very free in his censures.
9.
Open; candid; frank; ingenuous; unreserved; as, we had a free conversation together.
Will you be free and candid to your friend?
10.
Liberal in expenses; not parsimonious; as a free purse; a man is free to give to all useful institutions.
11.
Gratuitous; not gained by importunity or purchase. He made him a free offer of his services. It is a free gift. The salvation of men is of free grace.
12.
Clear of crime or offense; guiltless; innocent.
My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.
13.
Not having feeling or suffering; clear; exempt; with from; as free from pain or disease; free from remorse.
14.
Not encumbered with; as free from a burden.
15.
Open to all, without restriction or without expense; as a free school.
16.
Invested with franchises; enjoying certain immunities; with of; as a man free of the city of London.
17.
Possessing without vassalage or slavish conditions; as free of his farm.
18.
Liberated from the government or control of parents, or of a guardian or master. A son or an apprentice, when of age, is free.
19.
Ready; eager; not dull; acting without spurring or shipping; as a free horse.
20.
Genteel; charming. [Not in use.]

FREE

, v.t.
1.
To remove from a thing any encumbrance or obstruction; to disengage from; to rid; to strip; to clear; as, to free the body from clothes; to free the feet from fetters; to free a channel from sand.
2.
To set at liberty; to rescue or release from slavery, captivity or confinement; to loose. The prisoner is freed from arrest.
3.
To disentangle; to disengage.
4.
To exempt.
He that is dead is freed from sin. Rom. 6.
5.
To manumit; to release from bondage; as, to free a slave.
6.
To clear from water, as a ship by pumping.
7.
To release from obligation or duty.
To free from or free of, is to rid of, by removing, in any manner.

Definition 2022


free

free

See also: -free

English

Adjective

free (comparative freer, superlative freest)

  1. (social) Unconstrained.
    He was given free rein to do whatever he wanted.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, chapter 1, in Twelve O'Clock:
      There was some laughter, and Roddle was left free to expand his ideas on the periodic visits of cowboys to the town. “Mason Rickets, he had ten big punkins a-sittin' in front of his store, an' them fellers from the Upside-down-F ranch shot 'em up […].”
    • 2013 August 10, Schumpeter, Cronies and capitols”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      Policing the relationship between government and business in a free society is difficult. Businesspeople have every right to lobby governments, and civil servants to take jobs in the private sector.
    1. Not imprisoned or enslaved.
      a free man
    2. Unconstrained by timidity or distrust; unreserved; frank; communicative.
      • (Can we date this quote?), Milward, (Please provide the title of the work):
        He was free only with a few.
    3. Generous; liberal.
      He's very free with his money.
    4. (obsolete) Clear of offence or crime; guiltless; innocent.
      • (Can we date this quote?), John Dryden, (Please provide the title of the work):
        My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.
    5. Without obligations.
      free time
    6. Thrown open, or made accessible, to all; to be enjoyed without limitations; unrestricted; not obstructed, engrossed, or appropriated; open; said of a thing to be possessed or enjoyed.
      a free school
      • (Can we date this quote?), William Shakespeare, (Please provide the title of the work):
        Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free / For me as for you?
    7. Not arbitrary or despotic; assuring liberty; defending individual rights against encroachment by any person or class; instituted by a free people; said of a government, institutions, etc.
      This is a free country.
    8. (software) With no or only freedom-preserving limitations on distribution or modification.
      OpenOffice is free software.
    9. (software) Intended for release, as opposed to a checked version.
  2. Obtainable without any payment.
    The government provides free health care.
    • 2013 July 20, The attack of the MOOCs”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Since the launch early last year of [] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
    1. (by extension, chiefly advertising slang) Obtainable without additional payment, as a bonus given when paying for something else.
      Buy a TV to get a free DVD player!
  3. (abstract) Unconstrained.
    1. (mathematics) Unconstrained by relators.
      the free group on three generators
    2. (mathematics, logic) Unconstrained by quantifiers.
      is the free variable in .
    3. (programming) Of identifiers, not bound.
    4. (of a morpheme) That can be used by itself, unattached to another morpheme.
  4. (physical) Unconstrained.
    1. Unobstructed, without blockages.
      the drain was free
    2. Unattached or uncombined.
      a free radical
    3. Not currently in use; not taken; unoccupied.
      You can sit on this chair; it's free.
    4. (botany, mycology) Not attached; loose.
      In this group of mushrooms, the gills are free.
      • 1992, Rudolf M. Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, page 7
        Furthermore, the free anterior margin of the lobule is arched toward the lobe and is often involute []
  5. Without; not containing (what is specified); exempt; clear; liberated.
    We had a wholesome, filling meal, free of meat. I would like to live free from care in the mountains.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Bishop Burnet, (Please provide the title of the work):
      princes declaring themselves free from the obligations of their treaties
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      One morning I had been driven to the precarious refuge afforded by the steps of the inn, after rejecting offers from the Celebrity to join him in a variety of amusements. But even here I was not free from interruption, for he was seated on a horse-block below me, playing with a fox terrier.
  6. (dated) Ready; eager; acting without spurring or whipping; spirited.
    a free horse
  7. (dated) Invested with a particular freedom or franchise; enjoying certain immunities or privileges; admitted to special rights; followed by of.
    • (Can we date this quote?), John Dryden, (Please provide the title of the work):
      He therefore makes all birds, of every sect, / Free of his farm.
  8. (Britain, law, obsolete) Certain or honourable; the opposite of base.
    free service; free socage
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)
  9. (law) Privileged or individual; the opposite of common.
    a free fishery; a free warren
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)

Synonyms

Antonyms

Hyponyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Adverb

free (comparative more free, superlative most free)

  1. Without needing to pay.
    I got this bike free.
  2. (obsolete) Freely; willingly.
    • c. 1601–1602, Henry VIII, published 1623:
      I as free forgive you / As I would be forgiven.

Synonyms

Translations

Verb

A painting depicting mythical Greek hero Perseus freeing Andromeda, who was imprisoned by a sea monster

free (third-person singular simple present frees, present participle freeing, simple past and past participle freed)

  1. (transitive) To make free; set at liberty; release; rid of that which confines, limits, embarrasses, or oppresses.

Hyponyms

Translations

Noun

free (plural frees)

  1. (Australian rules football, Gaelic football) Abbreviation of free kick.
    • 2006, :
      Whether deserved or not, the free gave Cresswell the chance to cover himself in glory with a shot on goal after the siren.
  2. free transfer
    • 2011 September 21, Sam Lyon, “Man City 2 - 0 Birmingham”, in BBC Sport:
      Hargreaves, who left Manchester United on a free during the summer, drilled a 22-yard beauty to open the scoring.
  3. (hurling) The usual means of restarting play after a foul is committed, where the non-offending team restarts from where the foul was committed.

Translations

Usage notes

  • Rank among most common English words: #351 (Gutenburg)

Anagrams


Low German

Etymology

From Middle Low German vrîe, from Old Saxon frī, from Proto-Germanic *frijaz, from Proto-Indo-European *prey (new). Compare Dutch vrij, West Frisian frij, English free, German frei.

Adjective

free (comparative fre'er, superlative freest)

  1. free

Declension

Derived terms

  • Freeheit