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free hand

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noun
  1. unrestricted freedom or authority: They gave the decorator a free hand.
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Origin of free hand

First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for free-hand

freedom, independence, latitude, leeway, liberty

Examples from the Web for free-hand

Historical Examples of free-hand

  • There is a vast difference in the use of drawing tools and free-hand drawing.

    Carpentry for Boys

    J. S. Zerbe

  • Principles of Proportion: Measurements by ruler and free-hand.

    The Making of a Trade School

    Mary Schenck Woolman

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

    Story of My Life

    Helen Keller

  • All free-hand designs are bound to show a difference in outline.

  • Figs. 30–33 are free-hand drawings from magnified specimens.


British Dictionary definitions for free-hand

free hand

noun
  1. unrestricted freedom to act (esp in the phrase give (someone) a free hand)
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adjective, adverb freehand
  1. (done) by hand without the use of guiding instrumentsa freehand drawing
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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

adv.

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

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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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.