View synonyms for license


[ lahy-suhns ]


  1. formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something, as to carry on some business or profession.
  2. a certificate, tag, plate, etc., giving proof of such permission; official permit:

    a driver's license.

  3. permission to do or not to do something.
  4. intentional deviation from rule, convention, or fact, as for the sake of literary or artistic effect:

    poetic license.

  5. exceptional freedom allowed in a special situation.
  6. excessive or undue freedom or liberty.
  7. the legal right to use a patent owned by another.

verb (used with object)

, li·censed, li·cens·ing.
  1. to grant authoritative permission or license to.


/ ˈlaɪsəns /


  1. to grant or give a licence for (something, such as the sale of alcohol)
  2. to give permission to or for

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Derived Forms

  • ˈlicensable, adjective
  • ˈlicenser, noun

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Other Words From

  • li·cens·a·ble adjective
  • li·cense·less adjective
  • li·cens·or li·cen·ser noun
  • de-li·cense verb (used with object) delicensed delicensing
  • non·li·cens·a·ble adjective
  • non·li·censed adjective
  • pre·li·cense noun verb (used with object) prelicensed prelicensing
  • re·li·cense verb (used with object) relicensed relicensing

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Word History and Origins

Origin of license1

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English licence, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin licentia “authorization,” Latin: “freedom,” equivalent to licent- (stem of licēns, present participle of licēre “to be allowed”) + -ia noun suffix; -ia, -ence

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Example Sentences

The ministry of defense needs to enforce the law from companies with licenses, but also they need to do oversight on companies working without a license.

Hunting licenses and firing range membership figures also point to the shooting sports market’s growth potential, he said.

From Ozy

Soon after, the state began issuing sports-betting licenses to casinos.

So they coach people on whether they need to send their driver’s license, wage documentation or something else, and push back against denied claims.

From Ozy

As City Councilman Chris Ward noted Wednesday, San Diego also has license plate readers and gunshot-detection software at its disposal.

You can still get your license at the court—just not actually get married there.

The young man had the presence of mind to tail Gaylard Williams out of the park and jot down his license plate.

Adding a checkbox to a driver's license and another form would make this easy to implement.

The next step is requiring 40 hours of training prior to license approval.

Did you know that you can purchase and mill 80 percent receivers without a license?

The special license had arrived; the young clergyman who was to perform the service was located at Hartledon.

There are at present more than sixteen thousand Chinese in this city of Manila, who have received license to stay in the country.

It has been years since they have had a license at our tavern, so there was a solitary man in the bar-room when I entered.

The business of a pawnbroker is legally regulated by statute, and the states usually require him to get a license.

Such a license though defective is valid until revoked by the proper authority.


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More About License

What does license mean?

License means permission to do something, especially formal permission from a government or other authority. The word often refers to the proof of that permission, such as a card or certificate.

A license can be required for many different kinds of activities, especially those that may be considered dangerous if a person does not have the proper training. The most common types of licenses are driver’s licenses, professional licenses, and licenses for businesses. Those who hold such licenses are said to be licensed. License can also be used as a verb, meaning “to grant permission” or “to give a license to.” In British English, it is commonly spelled licence.

Example: I have permission to operate here, and if you doubt it you can even see my license.

Where does license come from?

The first records of license in English come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin word licentia, which means “authorization” or “freedom” and is based on the Latin verb licēre, meaning “to be allowed.”

In a general sense, license refers to permission. But it most commonly refers to official permission, especially from a government. Your driver’s license is the card in your wallet with a bad picture of you on it, but that card represents the permission you have been given to drive. In most places, you have to earn that permission by taking a test and proving that you’re a good driver (OK, that you have a basic ability to operate a vehicle). The same thing goes for many licenses, including those to practice law or medicine—you have to prove that you have the knowledge or skill necessary to do those things, because otherwise you could seriously hurt people or mess up their lives. There are many other examples of professions that require licenses, and there are also licenses for recreational activities. In some places, you need a hunting license or a fishing license.

It’s not only individual people who can hold licenses—some organizations and businesses require licenses, too. For example, in the United States, restaurants need a license to serve alcohol.

Though license is most commonly used in an official sense, it can be used generally to mean “permission” or “authority,” as in Your promotion doesn’t give you a license to be rude to your coworkers. 

License is sometimes used in a figurative sense, as in poetic license, which is the freedom of artists to change something for effect, even if it’s not correct or realistic. James Bond’s famous license to kill isn’t figurative or metaphorical—he literally has permission to kill people if he considers it necessary to complete a mission (in fact, that’s what it means to have “double-0” status in the books and movies in which Agent 007 appears).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to license?

  • licensed (verb, adjective)
  • licensee (noun)
  • licensor (noun)
  • licensable (adjective)
  • delicense (verb)

What are some synonyms for license?

What are some words that share a root or word element with license

What are some words that often get used in discussing license?

How is license used in real life?

License is commonly used to refer to the document that proves that you have permission to do something, such as drive a car, practice medicine, serve alcohol, operate a boat, hunt, fish, and many other activities.

Try using license!

Which of the following words could be considered an antonym (opposite) for license?

A. permission
B. permit
C. ban
D. authorization

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licencelicensed aircraft engineer