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[lib-uh-reyt] /ˈlɪb əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), liberated, liberating.
to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
Slang. to steal or take over illegally:
The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.
Origin of liberate
1615-25; < Latin līberātus (past participle of līberāre to free), equivalent to līberā- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix. See liberal, -ate1
Related forms
liberative, liberatory
[lib-er-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈlɪb ər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
liberator, noun
preliberate, verb (used with object), preliberated, preliberating.
reliberate, verb (used with object), reliberated, reliberating.
unliberated, adjective
1. deliver, unfetter, disenthrall, loose. See release.
1. imprison; enthrall. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for liberate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I want to liberate Englishmen so far as I can from the tyranny of Shakespeare's greatness.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • As it was, he attempted to liberate a people which did not feel its slavery.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • In 1808 a corps of 10,000 men destined to liberate Portugal was placed under his charge.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • You wish me to liberate David Rossi and leave you to deal with him?

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • liberate their conscience from the materialism by which it is weighed down.

    Italy, the Magic Land Lilian Whiting
British Dictionary definitions for liberate


verb (transitive)
to give liberty to; make free
to release (something, esp a gas) from chemical combination during a chemical reaction
to release from occupation or subjugation by a foreign power
to free from social prejudices or injustices
(euphemistic or facetious) to steal
Derived Forms
liberator, noun
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 liberate

1620s, from Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare "set free," from liber "free" (see liberal). Meaning "to free an occupied territory from the enemy" (often used ironically) is from 1942. Related: Liberated; liberating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for liberate



To steal or appropriate, originally something in conquered enemy territory (WWII Army)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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