or lais·ser-faire

[ les-ey-fair; French le-sey-fer ]
/ ˌlɛs eɪˈfɛər; French lɛ seɪˈfɛr /


of, relating to, or conforming to the principles or practices of laissez faire.



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Origin of laissez-faire

First recorded in 1815–25

OTHER WORDS FROM laissez-faire

lais·sez-faire·ism, noun

Definition for laissez-faire (2 of 2)

laissez faire

or lais·ser faire

[ les-ey fair; French le-sey fer ]
/ ˌlɛs eɪ ˈfɛər; French lɛ seɪ ˈfɛr /


the theory or system of government that upholds the autonomous character of the economic order, believing that government should intervene as little as possible in the direction of economic affairs.
the practice or doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of others, especially with reference to individual conduct or freedom of action.

Origin of laissez faire

1815–25; < French: literally, allow to act Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for laissez-faire

British Dictionary definitions for laissez-faire

laissez faire

laisser faire

/ (ˌlɛseɪ ˈfɛə, French lese fɛr) /


  1. Also called: individualism the doctrine of unrestricted freedom in commerce, esp for private interests
  2. (as modifier)a laissez-faire economy
indifference or noninterference, esp in the affairs of others

Derived forms of laissez faire

laissez-faireism or laisser-faireism, noun

Word Origin for laissez faire

French, literally: let (them) act
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 laissez-faire

[ (les-ay-fair, lay-zay-fair) ]

French for “Let (people) do (as they choose).” It describes a system or point of view that opposes regulation or interference by the government in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary to allow the free enterprise system to operate according to its own laws.

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.