• License


    • IPA: /ˈlaɪsəns/
    • Hyphenation: li + cense

    Alternative forms


    From Old French licence, from Latin licentia ("license"), from licens, present participle of licere ("to be allowed, be allowable"); compare linquere, Ancient Greek λείπω ("leave").



    (countable and uncountable; plural licenses)
    1. A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.
    2. The legal terms under which a person is allowed to use a product, especially software.Even if you bought this product, it does NOT belong to you. You have a license to use it under the terms of this agreement, until you breach this agreement.
    3. Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech).
    4. Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint.
      • 1936, Will Durant and , The Story of Civilization, page 520:When liberty becomes license dictatorship is near.
    5. An academic degree, the holder of which is called a licentiate, ranking slightly below doctorate, awarded by certain European and Latin-American universities.

    Usage notes

    In British English, the noun is spelt licence and the verb is license.

    The spelling licence is not used for either part of speech in the United States.

    Full definition of license


    1. The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization.
      • 2013-06-22, T time, The ability to shift profits to low-tax countries by locating intellectual property in them, which is then licensed to related businesses in high-tax countries, is often assumed to be the preserve of high-tech companies.
    2. It was decided to license Wikipedia under the GFDL.
    3. Authorize officially.
      I am licensed to practice law in this state.


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