verb (used with object), lib·er·at·ed, lib·er·at·ing.

to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
Slang. to steal or take over illegally: The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.

Origin of liberate

1615–25; < Latin līberātus (past participle of līberāre to free), equivalent to līberā- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix. See liberal, -ate1
Related formslib·er·a·tive, lib·er·a·to·ry [lib-er-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈlɪb ər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivelib·er·a·tor, nounpre·lib·er·ate, verb (used with object), pre·lib·er·at·ed, pre·lib·er·at··lib·er·ate, verb (used with object), re·lib·er·at·ed, re·lib·er·at·ing.un·lib·er·at·ed, adjective

Synonyms for liberate

Antonyms for liberate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for liberate

Contemporary Examples of liberate

Historical Examples of liberate

  • I want to liberate Englishmen so far as I can from the tyranny of Shakespeare's greatness.

  • As it was, he attempted to liberate a people which did not feel its slavery.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • In 1808 a corps of 10,000 men destined to liberate Portugal was placed under his charge.


    Samuel Smiles

  • You wish me to liberate David Rossi and leave you to deal with him?

  • Liberate their conscience from the materialism by which it is weighed down.

    Italy, the Magic Land

    Lilian Whiting

British Dictionary definitions for liberate


verb (tr)

to give liberty to; make free
to release (something, esp a gas) from chemical combination during a chemical reaction
to release from occupation or subjugation by a foreign power
to free from social prejudices or injustices
euphemistic, or facetious to steal
Derived Formsliberator, noun
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 liberate

1620s, from Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare "set free," from liber "free" (see liberal). Meaning "to free an occupied territory from the enemy" (often used ironically) is from 1942. Related: Liberated; liberating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper