[ free ]
See synonyms for: freefreedfreeingfreer on

adjective,fre·er [free-er], /ˈfri ər/, fre·est [free-ist]. /ˈfri ɪst/.
  1. enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery: a land of free people.

  2. pertaining to or reserved for those who enjoy personal liberty: They were thankful to be living on free soil.

  1. existing under, characterized by, or possessing civil and political liberties that are, as a rule, constitutionally guaranteed by representative government: the free nations of the world.

  2. enjoying political autonomy, as a people or country not under foreign rule; independent.

  3. exempt from external authority, interference, restriction, etc., as a person or one's will, thought, choice, action, etc.; independent; unrestricted.

  4. able to do something at will; at liberty: free to choose.

  5. clear of obstructions or obstacles, as a road or corridor: The highway is now free of fallen rock.

  6. not occupied or in use; available: I think the main conference room is free, so we can meet there.I'm moving to a new apartment, and that’s taking up most of my free time.

  7. exempt or released from something specified that controls, restrains, burdens, etc. (usually followed by from or of): free from worry;free of taxes.: See also -free.

  8. having immunity or being safe (usually followed by from): free from danger.

  9. provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment: free parking;a free sample.

  10. given without consideration of a return or reward: a free offer of legal advice.

  11. unimpeded, as motion or movement; easy, firm, or swift.

  12. not held fast; loose; unattached: to get one's arm free.

  13. not joined to or in contact with something else: The free end of the cantilever sagged.

  14. acting without self-restraint or reserve: to be too free with one's tongue.

  15. ready or generous in giving; liberal; lavish: to be free with one's advice.

  16. given readily or in profusion; unstinted.

  17. frank and open; unconstrained, unceremonious, or familiar.

  18. unrestrained by decency; loose or licentious: free behavior.

  19. not subject to special regulations, restrictions, duties, etc.: The ship was given free passage.

  20. of, relating to, or characterized by free enterprise: a free economy.

  21. that may be used by or is open to all: a free market.

  22. engaged in by all present; general: a free fight.

  23. not literal, as a translation, adaptation, or the like; loose.

  24. uncombined chemically: free oxygen.

  25. traveling without power; under no force except that of gravity or inertia: free flight.

  26. Phonetics. (of a vowel) situated in an open syllable (opposed to checked).

  27. at liberty to enter and enjoy at will (usually followed by of): to be free of a friend's house.

  28. not subject to rules, set forms, etc.: The young students had an hour of free play between classes.

  29. easily worked, as stone, land, etc.

  30. Mathematics. (of a vector) having specified magnitude and direction but no specified initial point.: Compare bound1 (def. 9).

  31. Also large .Nautical. (of a wind) nearly on the quarter, so that a sailing vessel may sail free.

  32. not containing a specified substance (usually followed by of or from): Our deli meats are free of additives.: See also -free.

  33. (of a linguistic form) occurring as an independent construction, without necessary combination with other forms, as most words.: Compare bound1 (def. 11).

  34. without cost, payment, or charge.

  1. in a free manner; freely.

  2. Nautical. away from the wind, so that a sailing vessel need not be close-hauled: running free.

verb (used with object),freed, free·ing.
  1. to make free; set at liberty; release from bondage, imprisonment, or restraint.

  2. to exempt or deliver (usually followed by from).

  1. to relieve or rid (usually followed by of): to free oneself of responsibility.

  2. to disengage; clear (usually followed by from or of).

Verb Phrases
  1. free up,

    • to release, as from restrictions: Congress voted to free up funds for the new highway system.

    • to disentangle: It took an hour to free up the traffic jam.

Idioms about free

  1. for free, Informal. without charge: The tailor mended my jacket for free.

  2. free and clear, Law. without any encumbrance, as a lien or mortgage: They owned their house free and clear.

  1. free and easy,

    • unrestrained; casual; informal.

    • excessively or inappropriately casual; presumptuous.

  2. make free with,

    • to use as one's own; help oneself to: If you make free with their liquor, you won't be invited again.

    • to treat with too much familiarity; take liberties with.

  3. set free, to release; liberate; free: The prisoners were set free.

  4. with a free hand, generously; freely; openhandedly: He entertains visitors with a free hand.

Origin of free

First recorded before 900; Middle English fre, Old English frēo; cognate with Gothic freis, Old High German frī (German frei ), Dutch vrij, Sanskrit priyá- “dear.” Cf. friend, Friday

synonym study For free

39. See release.

Other words from free

  • free·ness, noun
  • o·ver·free, adjective
  • o·ver·free·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-free, adjective
  • qua·si-free·ly, adverb
  • un·free, verb (used with object), un·freed, un·free·ing, adjective
  • un·free·ly, adverb

Other definitions for -free (2 of 2)


  1. a combining form with the general sense “free of or from something specified,” and typically meaning “not having, containing, subject to, or affected by something unwanted, burdensome, etc.”: error-free;gluten-free;tax-free;germfree. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use free in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for free (1 of 2)


/ (friː) /

adjectivefreer or freest
  1. able to act at will; not under compulsion or restraint

    • having personal rights or liberty; not enslaved or confined

    • (as noun): land of the free

  1. (often postpositive and foll by from) not subject (to) or restricted (by some regulation, constraint, etc); exempt: a free market; free from pain

  2. (of a country, etc) autonomous or independent

  3. exempt from external direction or restriction; not forced or induced: free will

  4. not subject to conventional constraints: free verse

  5. (of jazz) totally improvised, with no preset melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic basis

  6. not exact or literal: a free translation

  7. costing nothing; provided without charge: free entertainment

  8. law (of property)

    • not subject to payment of rent or performance of services; freehold

    • not subject to any burden or charge, such as a mortgage or lien; unencumbered

  9. (postpositive; often foll by of or with) ready or generous in using or giving; liberal; lavish: free with advice

  10. unrestrained by propriety or good manners; licentious

  11. not occupied or in use; available: a free cubicle

  12. not occupied or busy; without previous engagements: I'm not free until Wednesday

  13. open or available to all; public

  14. without charge to the subscriber or user: freepost; freephone

  15. not fixed or joined; loose: the free end of a chain

  16. without obstruction or impediment: free passage

  17. chem chemically uncombined: free nitrogen

  18. phonetics denoting a vowel that can occur in an open syllable, such as the vowel in see as opposed to the vowel in cat

  19. grammar denoting a morpheme that can occur as a separate word: Compare bound 1 (def. 8a)

  20. logic denoting an occurrence of a variable not bound by a quantifier: Compare bound 1 (def. 9)

  21. (of some materials, such as certain kinds of stone) easily worked

  22. nautical (of the wind) blowing from the quarter

  23. feel free (usually imperative) to regard oneself as having permission to perform a specified action

  24. for free not standard without charge or cost

  25. free and easy casual or tolerant; easy-going

  26. make free with to take liberties with; behave too familiarly towards

  1. in a free manner; freely

  2. without charge or cost

  1. nautical with the wind blowing from the quarter: a yacht sailing free

verbfrees, freeing or freed (tr)
  1. (sometimes foll by up) to set at liberty; release

  2. to remove obstructions, attachments, or impediments from; disengage

  1. (often foll by of or from) to relieve or rid (of obstacles, pain, etc)

  1. informal a freesheet

Origin of free

Old English frēo; related to Old Saxon, Old High German frī, Gothic freis free, Sanskrit priya dear

Derived forms of free

  • freer, noun
  • freely, adverb
  • freeness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for -free (2 of 2)


adj combining form
  1. free from: trouble-free; lead-free petrol

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with free


In addition to the idioms beginning with free

  • free agent
  • free and clear
  • free and easy
  • free as a bird
  • free enterprise
  • free fall
  • free hand
  • free lunch
  • free rein

also see:

  • breathe easy (freely)
  • feel free
  • footloose and fancy-free
  • for free
  • get off (scot-free)
  • home free
  • make free with
  • of one's own accord (free will)

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