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free agent

a person who is self-determining and is not responsible for his or her actions to any authority.
a professional athlete who is not under contract and is free to auction off his or her services and sign a contract with the team that offers the most money.
Origin of free agent
First recorded in 1840-50
Related forms
free agency, free agentry, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for free agent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Had Jenkins been a free agent—free from work—he had been only too glad to obey her.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Another of Mr. Caryll's philosophies was that, when all is said, man is little of a free agent.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • And then, I'm not altogether a free agent; I'm not my own master, quite; and that's difficult to explain.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • Belle, you are either inside the Code or a free agent outside it.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • In one short year your articles will expire, and you will become a free agent.

British Dictionary definitions for free agent

free agent

a person whose actions are not constrained by others
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
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Idioms and Phrases with free agent

free agent

A person not under compulsion or constraint, not responsible to any authority for his or her actions. For example, After he quit his job, he decided to pursue the same line of work as a free agent. Originally used to describe a person subject to the philosophic concept offree will (as opposed to determinism), this expression was first recorded in 1662. Later it was extended to mean “someone not under obligation to an authority.”
A professional athlete who is free to sign a contract with any team. For example, After he was released from the Yankees, he was a free agent and could shop around for the team that offered the most money. [ Second half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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