Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words

free hand

unrestricted freedom or authority:
They gave the decorator a free hand.
Origin of free hand
First recorded in 1925-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for free hand
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly, he waved his free hand in the direction of the waiting-room.

    Little Novels Wilkie Collins
  • With his free hand, he thoughtfully rubbed his injured cheek.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • Now began the process of weeding out the jury, which, when it came his turn, Rumpety performed with a free hand.

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • He put his free hand to one of his own eyes, fingering it inquiringly.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • She had a laminated press-pass out in her free hand and was holding it up beside her head like a talisman.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for free hand

free hand

unrestricted freedom to act (esp in the phrase give (someone) a free hand)
adjective, adverb freehand
(done) by hand without the use of guiding instruments: a freehand drawing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with free hand

free hand

Also,free rein. Freedom to do or decide as one sees fit. For example, The teacher gave her assistant a free hand with the class, or They gave me free rein to reorganize the department. The first expression dates from the late 1800s, the second from the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for free hand

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for free

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for free hand