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free agent

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noun

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.

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Origin of free agent

First recorded in 1840–50
free agency, free agentry, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for free agent

free agent

noun

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

Idioms and Phrases with free agent

free agent

1

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 of free 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.”

2

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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