Nearby words

  1. frederiksberg,
  2. fredet-ramstedt operation,
  3. fredonia,
  4. fredric,
  5. fredrikstad,
  6. free agent,
  7. free air,
  8. free alongside ship,
  9. free and accepted masons,
  10. free and clear


Origin of free

before 900; Middle English fre, Old English frēo; cognate with Gothic freis, Old High German frī (German frei), Dutch vrij, Sanskrit priyá- dear. Cf. friend, Friday

Related forms

Synonym study

39. See release. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unfree

British Dictionary definitions for unfree


adjective freer or freest

able to act at will; not under compulsion or restraint
  1. having personal rights or liberty; not enslaved or confined
  2. (as noun)land of the free
(often postpositive and foll by from) not subject (to) or restricted (by some regulation, constraint, etc); exempta free market; free from pain
(of a country, etc) autonomous or independent
exempt from external direction or restriction; not forced or inducedfree will
not subject to conventional constraintsfree verse
(of jazz) totally improvised, with no preset melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic basis
not exact or literala free translation
costing nothing; provided without chargefree entertainment
law (of property)
  1. not subject to payment of rent or performance of services; freehold
  2. not subject to any burden or charge, such as a mortgage or lien; unencumbered
(postpositive; often foll by of or with) ready or generous in using or giving; liberal; lavishfree with advice
unrestrained by propriety or good manners; licentious
not occupied or in use; availablea free cubicle
not occupied or busy; without previous engagementsI'm not free until Wednesday
open or available to all; public
without charge to the subscriber or userfreepost; freephone
not fixed or joined; loosethe free end of a chain
without obstruction or impedimentfree passage
chem chemically uncombinedfree nitrogen
phonetics denoting a vowel that can occur in an open syllable, such as the vowel in see as opposed to the vowel in cat
grammar denoting a morpheme that can occur as a separate wordCompare bound 1 (def. 8a)
logic denoting an occurrence of a variable not bound by a quantifierCompare bound 1 (def. 9)
(of some materials, such as certain kinds of stone) easily worked
nautical (of the wind) blowing from the quarter
feel free (usually imperative) to regard oneself as having permission to perform a specified action
for free not standard without charge or cost
free and easy casual or tolerant; easy-going
make free with to take liberties with; behave too familiarly towards


in a free manner; freely
without charge or cost
nautical with the wind blowing from the quartera yacht sailing free

verb frees, freeing or freed (tr)

(sometimes foll by up) to set at liberty; release
to remove obstructions, attachments, or impediments from; disengage
(often foll by of or from) to relieve or rid (of obstacles, pain, etc)


informal a freesheet
Derived Formsfreer, nounfreely, adverbfreeness, noun

Word Origin for free

Old English frēo; related to Old Saxon, Old High German frī, Gothic freis free, Sanskrit priya dear

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 unfree
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with unfree


In addition to the idioms beginning with free

  • free agent
  • free and clear
  • free and easy
  • free as a bird
  • free enterprise
  • free fall
  • free hand
  • free lunch
  • free rein

also see:

  • breathe easy (freely)
  • feel free
  • footloose and fancy-free
  • for free
  • get off (scot-free)
  • home free
  • make free with
  • of one's own accord (free will)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.