1. [syn: deism, free thought]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Free \Free\ (fr[=e]), a. [Compar. Freer (-[~e]r); superl.
Freest (-[e^]st).] [OE. fre, freo, AS. fre['o], fr[imac];
akin to D. vrij, OS. & OHG. fr[imac], G. frei, Icel.
fr[imac], Sw. & Dan. fri, Goth. freis, and also to Skr. prija
beloved, dear, fr. pr[imac] to love, Goth. frij[=o]n. Cf.
Affray, Belfry, Friday, Friend, Frith inclosure.]
1. Exempt from subjection to the will of others; not under
restraint, control, or compulsion; able to follow one's
own impulses, desires, or inclinations; determining one's
own course of action; not dependent; at liberty.
That which has the power, or not the power, to
operate, is that alone which is or is not free.
2. Not under an arbitrary or despotic government; subject
only to fixed laws regularly and fairly administered, and
defended by them from encroachments upon natural or
acquired rights; enjoying political liberty.
3. Liberated, by arriving at a certain age, from the control
of parents, guardian, or master.
4. Not confined or imprisoned; released from arrest;
liberated; at liberty to go.
Set an unhappy prisoner free. --Prior.
5. Not subjected to the laws of physical necessity; capable
of voluntary activity; endowed with moral liberty; -- said
of the will.
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love.
6. Clear of offense or crime; guiltless; innocent.
My hands are guilty, but my heart is free. --Dryden.
7. Unconstrained by timidity or distrust; unreserved;
ingenuous; frank; familiar; communicative.
He was free only with a few. --Milward.
8. Unrestrained; immoderate; lavish; licentious; -- used in a
The critics have been very free in their censures.
A man may live a free life as to wine or women.
9. Not close or parsimonious; liberal; open-handed; lavish;
as, free with his money.
10. Exempt; clear; released; liberated; not encumbered or
troubled with; as, free from pain; free from a burden; --
followed by from, or, rarely, by of.
Princes declaring themselves free from the
obligations of their treaties. --Bp. Burnet.
11. Characteristic of one acting without restraint; charming;
12. Ready; eager; acting without spurring or whipping;
spirited; as, a free horse.
13. Invested with a particular freedom or franchise; enjoying
certain immunities or privileges; admitted to special
rights; -- followed by of.
He therefore makes all birds, of every sect,
Free of his farm. --Dryden.
14. 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; as, a free school.
Why, sir, I pray, are not the streets as free
For me as for you? --Shak.
15. Not gained by importunity or purchase; gratuitous;
spontaneous; as, free admission; a free gift.
16. 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.
17. (O. Eng. Law) Certain or honorable; the opposite of
base; as, free service; free socage. --Burrill.
18. (Law) Privileged or individual; the opposite of common;
as, a free fishery; a free warren. --Burrill.
19. Not united or combined with anything else; separated;
dissevered; unattached; at liberty to escape; as, free
carbonic acid gas; free cells.
Free agency, the capacity or power of choosing or acting
freely, or without necessity or constraint upon the will.
Free bench (Eng. Law), a widow's right in the copyhold
lands of her husband, corresponding to dower in freeholds.
Free board (Naut.), a vessel's side between water line and
Free bond (Chem.), an unsaturated or unemployed unit, or
bond, of affinity or valence, of an atom or radical.
Free-borough men (O.Eng. Law). See Friborg.
Free chapel (Eccles.), a chapel not subject to the
jurisdiction of the ordinary, having been founded by the
king or by a subject specially authorized. [Eng.]
Free charge (Elec.), a charge of electricity in the free or
statical condition; free electricity.
(a) A church whose sittings are for all and without
(b) An ecclesiastical body that left the Church of
Scotland, in 1843, to be free from control by the
government in spiritual matters.
Free city, or Free town, a city or town independent in
its government and franchises, as formerly those of the
Free cost, freedom from charges or expenses. --South.
Free and easy, unconventional; unrestrained; regardless of
formalities. [Colloq.] "Sal and her free and easy ways."
Free goods, goods admitted into a country free of duty.
Free labor, the labor of freemen, as distinguished from
that of slaves.
Free port. (Com.)
(a) A port where goods may be received and shipped free
of custom duty.
(b) A port where goods of all kinds are received from
ships of all nations at equal rates of duty.
Free public house, in England, a tavern not belonging to a
brewer, so that the landlord is free to brew his own beer
or purchase where he chooses. --Simmonds.
(a) A school to which pupils are admitted without
discrimination and on an equal footing.
(b) A school supported by general taxation, by
endowmants, etc., where pupils pay nothing for
tuition; a public school.
Free services (O.Eng. Law), such feudal services as were
not unbecoming the character of a soldier or a freemen to
perform; as, to serve under his lord in war, to pay a sum
of money, etc. --Burrill.
Free ships, ships of neutral nations, which in time of war
are free from capture even though carrying enemy's goods.
Free socage (O.Eng. Law), a feudal tenure held by certain
services which, though honorable, were not military.
Free States, those of the United States before the Civil
War, in which slavery had ceased to exist, or had never
Free stuff (Carp.), timber free from knots; clear stuff.
Free thought, that which is thought independently of the
authority of others.
Free trade, commerce unrestricted by duties or tariff
Free trader, one who believes in free trade.
To make free with, to take liberties with; to help one's
self to. [Colloq.]
To sail free (Naut.), to sail with the yards not braced in
as sharp as when sailing closehauled, or close to the
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: the form of theological rationalism that believes in God on
the basis of reason without reference to revelation [syn:
deism, free thought]