verb (used with object), lib·er·at·ed, lib·er·at·ing.
  1. to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
  2. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
  3. to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
  4. to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
  5. 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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for liberatory


verb (tr)
  1. to give liberty to; make free
  2. to release (something, esp a gas) from chemical combination during a chemical reaction
  3. to release from occupation or subjugation by a foreign power
  4. to free from social prejudices or injustices
  5. 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 liberatory



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