or lais·ser-faire

[les-ey-fair; French le-sey-fer]


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

Origin of laissez-faire

First recorded in 1815–25
Related formslais·sez-faire·ism, noun

laissez faire

or lais·ser faire

[les-ey fair; French le-sey fer]


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for laissez-faire

Contemporary Examples of laissez-faire

Historical Examples of laissez-faire

  • But 'laissez-faire' is not the best but only the second best.

  • I do not think that success in this struggle will come through the policy of laissez-faire.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • Indeed, in that sense, there never has been any laissez-faire school.

  • The doctrine of Laissez-Faire is the sinew of her policy toward the European states.

    The Arena


  • Glaubmann flapped his right hand in a gesture of laissez-faire.

British Dictionary definitions for laissez-faire

laissez faire

laisser faire


  1. Also called: individualismthe 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 Formslaissez-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

Word Origin and History for laissez-faire

laissez faire, 1822, French, literally "let (people) do (as they think best)," from laissez, imperative of laisser "to let, to leave" (from Latin laxare, from laxus "loose;" see lax) + faire "to do" (from Latin facere; see factitious). From the phrase laissez faire et laissez passer, motto of certain 18c. French economists, chosen to express the ideal of government non-interference in business and industry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

laissez-faire in Culture


[(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.