[free-duh m]
  1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
  2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  3. the power to determine action without restraint.
  4. political or national independence.
  5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
  6. exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear.
  7. the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.
  8. ease or facility of movement or action: to enjoy the freedom of living in the country.
  9. frankness of manner or speech.
  10. general exemption or immunity: freedom from taxation.
  11. the absence of ceremony or reserve.
  12. a liberty taken.
  13. a particular immunity or privilege enjoyed, as by a city or corporation: freedom to levy taxes.
  14. civil liberty, as opposed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.
  15. the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like.
  16. the right to frequent, enjoy, or use at will: to have the freedom of a friend's library.
  17. Philosophy. the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without; autonomy; self-determination.Compare necessity(def 7).

Origin of freedom

before 900; Middle English fredom, Old English frēodōm. See free, -dom
Related formsnon·free·dom, nouno·ver·free·dom, nounun·free·dom, noun

Synonyms for freedom

1. Freedom, independence, liberty refer to an absence of undue restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one's rights and powers. Freedom emphasizes the opportunity given for the exercise of one's rights, powers, desires, or the like: freedom of speech or conscience; freedom of movement. Independence implies not only lack of restrictions but also the ability to stand alone, unsustained by anything else: Independence of thought promotes invention and discovery. Liberty, though most often interchanged with freedom, is also used to imply undue exercise of freedom: He took liberties with the text. 9. openness, ingenuousness. 12. license. 16. run. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unfreedom

Contemporary Examples of unfreedom

Historical Examples of unfreedom

  • Here, again, the ideas of freedom and unfreedom find a part to play.

    Domesday Book and Beyond

    Frederic William Maitland

  • Merchet was the most striking consequence of unfreedom, but manorial documents are wont to connect it with several others.

    Villainage in England

    Paul Vinogradoff

British Dictionary definitions for unfreedom


  1. personal liberty, as from slavery, bondage, serfdom, etc
  2. liberation or deliverance, as from confinement or bondage
  3. the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties
  4. (usually foll by from) the state of being without something unpleasant or bad; exemption or immunityfreedom from taxation
  5. the right or privilege of unrestricted use or accessthe freedom of a city
  6. autonomy, self-government, or independence
  7. the power or liberty to order one's own actions
  8. philosophy the quality, esp of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained; able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances
  9. ease or frankness of manner; candourshe talked with complete freedom
  10. excessive familiarity of manner; boldness
  11. ease and grace, as of movement; lack of effort

Word Origin for freedom

Old English frēodōm
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 unfreedom



Old English freodom "freedom, state of free will; charter, emancipation, deliverance;" see free (adj.) + -dom. Freedom-rider recorded 1961, in reference to civil rights activists in U.S. trying to integrate bus lines.

It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists. [John C. Calhoun, speech, U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 31, 1816]

Freedom Rider Situation Cuts Into Montgomery Juke, Game Revenues [headline, "Billboard," July 24, 1961]

Freedom fighter attested by 1903 (originally with reference to Cuba).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper