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free enterprise

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noun
an economic and political doctrine holding that a capitalist economy can regulate itself in a freely competitive market through the relationship of supply and demand with a minimum of governmental intervention and regulation.
the practice of free enterprise in an economy, or the right to practice it.

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Also called private enterprise.

Origin of free enterprise

First recorded in 1885–90

OTHER WORDS FROM free enterprise

free-en·ter·pris·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use free enterprise in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for free enterprise

free enterprise

noun
an economic system in which commercial organizations compete for profit with little state control
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

Cultural definitions for free enterprise

free enterprise

The freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with minimal governmental regulation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with free enterprise

free enterprise

Also, private enterprise. An undertaking on one's own behalf, especially a shady or illegal one. For example, The city treasurer didn't bother with competitive bids; the spirit of free enterprise just led him to his brother-in-law, or The sergeant indulged in a little private enterprise, selling cigarettes on the black market. This sarcastic application of a term that has meant, since about 1885, the freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with a minimum of government control, dates from the mid-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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