[ lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl ]
See synonyms for liberal on
  1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

  2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

  1. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism, especially the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties.

  2. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

  3. favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.

  4. of or relating to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.

  5. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

  6. open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.

  7. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.

  8. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.

  9. not strict or rigorous; not literal; free: a liberal interpretation of a rule.

  10. of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts.

  11. of, relating to, or befitting a freeman.

  1. a person of liberal principles or views, especially in politics or religion.

  2. (often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, especially of the Liberal party in Great Britain.

Origin of liberal

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Old French, from Latin līberālis “of freedom, befitting the free, honorable,” equivalent to līber “free, open, frank” + -ālis -al1

synonym study For liberal

9. See generous. 10. See ample.

Other words for liberal

Opposites for liberal

Other words from liberal

  • lib·er·al·ly, adverb
  • lib·er·al·ness, noun
  • an·ti·lib·er·al, adjective, noun
  • an·ti·lib·er·al·ness, noun
  • half-lib·er·al, adjective
  • non·lib·er·al, adjective
  • o·ver·lib·er·al, adjective
  • pre·lib·er·al, adjective, noun
  • pseu·do·lib·er·al, adjective, noun
  • qua·si-lib·er·al, adjective
  • sem·i·lib·er·al, adjective, noun
  • un·lib·er·al, adjective

Words Nearby liberal

Other definitions for Liberal (2 of 2)

[ lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl ]

  1. a city in SW Kansas. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use liberal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for liberal (1 of 2)


/ (ˈlɪbərəl, ˈlɪbrəl) /

  1. relating to or having social and political views that favour progress and reform

  2. relating to or having policies or views advocating individual freedom

  1. giving and generous in temperament or behaviour

  2. tolerant of other people

  3. abundant; lavish: a liberal helping of cream

  4. not strict; free: a liberal translation

  5. of or relating to an education that aims to develop general cultural interests and intellectual ability

  1. a person who has liberal ideas or opinions

Origin of liberal

C14: from Latin līberālis of freedom, from līber free

Derived forms of liberal

  • liberally, adverb
  • liberalness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Liberal (2 of 2)


/ (ˈlɪbərəl, ˈlɪbrəl) /

  1. a member or supporter of a Liberal Party or Liberal Democrat party

  1. of or relating to a Liberal Party

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 liberal


A descriptive term for persons, policies, and beliefs associated with liberalism.

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.