1. [syn: civil liberty, political liberty]
2. fundamental individual right protected by law and expressed as immunity from unwarranted governmental interference;
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Liberty \Lib"er*ty\ (l[i^]b"[~e]r*t[y^]), n.; pl. Liberties
(-t[i^]z). [OE. liberte, F. libert['e], fr. L. libertas, fr.
liber free. See Liberal.]
1. The state of a free person; exemption from subjection to
the will of another claiming ownership of the person or
services; freedom; -- opposed to slavery, serfdom,
bondage, or subjection.
But ye . . . caused every man his servant, and every
man his handmaid whom he had set at liberty at their
pleasure, to return, and brought them into
subjection. --Jer. xxxiv.
Delivered fro the bondage of corruption into the
glorious liberty of the sons of God. --Bible, 1551.
Rom. viii. 21.
2. Freedom from imprisonment, bonds, or other restraint upon
Being pent from liberty, as I am now. --Shak.
3. A privilege conferred by a superior power; permission
granted; leave; as, liberty given to a child to play, or
to a witness to leave a court, and the like.
4. Privilege; exemption; franchise; immunity enjoyed by
prescription or by grant; as, the liberties of the
commercial cities of Europe.
His majesty gave not an entire county to any; much
less did he grant . . . any extraordinary liberties.
5. The place within which certain immunities are enjoyed, or
jurisdiction is exercised. [Eng.]
Brought forth into some public or open place within
the liberty of the city, and there . . . burned.
6. A certain amount of freedom; permission to go freely
within certain limits; also, the place or limits within
which such freedom is exercised; as, the liberties of a
7. A privilege or license in violation of the laws of
etiquette or propriety; as, to permit, or take, a liberty.
He was repeatedly provoked into striking those who
had taken liberties with him. --Macaulay.
8. The power of choice; freedom from necessity; freedom from
compulsion or constraint in willing.
The idea of liberty is the idea of a power in any
agent to do or forbear any particular action,
according to the determination or thought of the
mind, whereby either of them is preferred to the
This liberty of judgment did not of necessity lead
to lawlessness. --J. A.
9. (Manege) A curve or arch in a bit to afford room for the
tongue of the horse.
10. (Naut.) Leave of absence; permission to go on shore.
(a) Unconfined; free.
(b) At leisure.
Civil liberty, exemption from arbitrary interference with
person, opinion, or property, on the part of the
government under which one lives, and freedom to take part
in modifying that government or its laws.
Liberty bell. See under Bell.
(a) The Roman pileus which was given to a slave at his
(b) A limp, close-fitting cap with which the head of
representations of the goddess of liberty is often
decked. It is sometimes represented on a spear or a
Liberty of the press, freedom to print and publish without
Liberty party, the party, in the American Revolution, which
favored independence of England; in more recent usage, a
party which favored the emancipation of the slaves.
Liberty pole, a tall flagstaff planted in the ground, often
surmounted by a liberty cap. [U. S.]
Moral liberty, that liberty of choice which is essential to
Religious liberty, freedom of religious opinion and
Syn: Leave; permission; license.
Usage: Liberty, Freedom. These words, though often
interchanged, are distinct in some of their
applications. Liberty has reference to previous
restraint; freedom, to the simple, unrepressed
exercise of our powers. A slave is set at liberty; his
master had always been in a state of freedom. A
prisoner under trial may ask liberty (exemption from
restraint) to speak his sentiments with freedom (the
spontaneous and bold utterance of his feelings). The
liberty of the press is our great security for freedom
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: one's freedom to exercise one's rights as guaranteed under
the laws of the country [syn: civil liberty, political
2: fundamental individual right protected by law and expressed
as immunity from unwarranted governmental interference