free hand



unrestricted freedom or authority: They gave the decorator a free hand.

Nearby words

  1. free gift,
  2. free gingiva,
  3. free gold,
  4. free goods,
  5. free graft,
  6. free house,
  7. free jazz,
  8. free kick,
  9. free kirk,
  10. free labour

Origin of free hand

First recorded in 1925–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for free-hand

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 instrumentsa 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

Word Origin and History for free-hand



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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