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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.
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Examples from the Web for free-hand
Historical Examples
  • After two or three cylinders have been centered to the pencil line the attempt to center one free-hand may be made.

    The Potter's Craft Charles F. Binns
  • All free-hand designs are bound to show a difference in outline.

  • I have been repeatedly asked by both amateurs and professionals what kind of paper I use in free-hand crayons.

    Crayon Portraiture Jerome A. Barhydt
  • Cut a free-hand pattern of a kimono nightdress for your doll.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • She knows all the free-hand movements and the "Anvil Chorus" with the dumb-bells.

    Story of My Life Helen Keller
  • A scale or other mechanical means should not be used in free-hand drawing.

  • We went to lunch and put on another exhibition of free-hand feeding, getting more grumpy and disgusted every minute.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • To these I have added complete instructions for free-hand crayons.

    Crayon Portraiture Jerome A. Barhydt
  • She was thirty-eight, plump, pretty in a free-hand manner, and wise.

    The Goose Girl Harold MacGrath
  • Charles had therefore a free-hand, and the secret treaty of Dover was the result.

    History of Holland George Edmundson
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
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Word Origin and History for free-hand

of drawing, from 1848; see free (adj.) + hand.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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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.
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