• Free


    • IPA: /fɹiː/
    • Rhymes: -iː


    From Middle English fre, from Old English frēo, Proto-Germanic *frijaz, from Proto-Indo-European *prei- ("to be fond of"), *prey-. Compare West Frisian frij, Dutch vrij, German frei, Danish fri.

    The verb comes from Old English frēoġan.

    Full definition of free



    1. Not imprisoned or enslaved.
      a free man
    2. Obtainable without any payment.
      The government provides free health care.
      • 2013-07-20, The attack of the MOOCs, Since the launch early last year of  two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
    3. (by extension, chiefly advertising slang) Obtainable without additional payment, as a bonus given when paying for something else.
      Buy a TV to get a free DVD player!
    4. Unconstrained.
      He was given free rein to do whatever he wanted.
      • 2013-08-10, Schumpeter, Cronies and capitols, Policing the relationship between government and business in a free society is difficult. Businesspeople have every right to lobby governments, and civil servants to take jobs in the private sector.
    5. Unconstrained by timidity or distrust; unreserved; frank; communicative.
      • MilwardHe was free only with a few.
    6. Generous; liberal.He's very free with his money.
    7. (obsolete) Clear of offence or crime; guiltless; innocent.
      • DrydenMy hands are guilty, but my heart is free.
    8. (mathematics) Unconstrained by relators.
      the free group on three generators
    9. (mathematics, logic) Unconstrained by quantifiers.z is the free variable in "\forall x\exists y:xy=z".
    10. Unobstructed, without blockages.
      the drain was free
    11. Unattached or uncombined.
      a free radical
    12. Not currently in use; not taken; unoccupied.
      You can sit on this chair; it's free.
    13. Without obligations.
      free time
    14. (software) With no or only freedom-preserving limitations on distribution or modification.
      OpenOffice is free software
    15. Without; not containing (what is specified); exempt; clear; liberated.
      We had a wholesome, filling meal, free of meat.   I would like to live free from care in the mountains.
      • Bishop Burnetprinces declaring themselves free from the obligations of their treaties
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 4, One morning I had been driven to the precarious refuge afforded by the steps of the inn, after rejecting offers from the Celebrity to join him in a variety of amusements. But even here I was not free from interruption, for he was seated on a horse-block below me, playing with a fox terrier.
    16. (programming) Of identifiers, not bound.
    17. (botany, mycology) Not attached; loose.
      • Schuster Hepaticae V|7Furthermore, the free anterior margin of the lobule is arched toward the lobe and is often involute...
    18. In this group of mushrooms, the gills are free.
    19. (of a morpheme) That can be used by itself, unattached to another morpheme.
    20. (software) Intended for release, as opposed to a checked version.
    21. (dated) Ready; eager; acting without spurring or whipping; spirited.a free horse
    22. (dated) Invested with a particular freedom or franchise; enjoying certain immunities or privileges; admitted to special rights; followed by of.
      • DrydenHe therefore makes all birds, of every sect,
        Free of his farm.
    23. Thrown open, or made accessible, to all; to be enjoyed without limitations; unrestricted; not obstructed, engrossed, or appropriated; open; said of a thing to be possessed or enjoyed.a free school
      • ShakespeareWhy, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free
        For me as for you?
    24. Not arbitrary or despotic; assuring liberty; defending individual rights against encroachment by any person or class; instituted by a free people; said of a government, institutions, etc.This is a free country.
    25. (UK, legal, obsolete) Certain or honourable; the opposite of base.free service; free socage
    26. (legal) Privileged or individual; the opposite of common.a free fishery; a free warren



    Related terms



    1. Without needing to pay.I got this bike free.
    2. (obsolete) Freely; willingly.
      • ShakespeareI as free forgive you
        As I would be forgiven.



    1. (transitive) To make free; set at liberty; release; rid of that which confines, limits, embarrasses, or oppresses.



    (plural frees)
    1. (Australian rules football, Gaelic football) Abbreviation of free kick.
      • 2006, http://footballlegends.org/daryn_cresswell.htm:Whether deserved or not, the free gave Cresswell the chance to cover himself in glory with a shot on goal after the siren. a typical, but not especially notable usage here, feel free (pun intended) to replace with a better one
    2. free transfer
      • 2011, September 21, Sam Lyon, Man City 2 - 0 Birmingham, Hargreaves, who left Manchester United on a free during the summer, drilled a 22-yard beauty to open the scoring.
    3. (hurling) The usual means of restarting play after a foul is committed, where the non-offending team restarts from where the foul was committed.

    Usage notes


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