adj. fre·er, fre·est
a. Not imprisoned or confined: walked out of prison a free man; set the birds free.
b. Not controlled by obligation or the will of another: felt free to go.
a. Not controlled by another country or political power; independent: a free nation.
b. Governed by consent and possessing or granting civil liberties: a free citizenry.
c. Not subject to arbitrary interference by a government: a free press.
d. Not enslaved.
a. Not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance: a healthy animal, free of disease; people free from need.
b. Not subject to a given condition; exempt: income that is free of all taxes.
a. Not bound by convention or the rules of form: a free artistic style.
b. Not literal or exact: a free translation.
a. Costing nothing; gratuitous: a free meal.
b. Publicly supported: free education.
a. Unobstructed; clear: a free lane on the highway.
b. Not occupied or used: a free locker; free energy.
c. Not taken up by scheduled activities: free time between classes.
a. Immoderate in giving or spending; liberal or lavish: tourists who are free with their money.
b. Frank or unguarded in expression or manner; open or outspoken: She is very free with her opinions.
8. Given, made, or done of one's own accord; voluntary or spontaneous: a free act of the will; free choices.
9. Chemistry & Physics
a. Unconstrained; unconfined: free expansion.
b. Not fixed in position; capable of relatively unrestricted motion: a free electron.
c. Not chemically bound in a molecule: free oxygen.
d. Involving no collisions or interactions: a free path.
e. Empty or unoccupied: a free space; an atom with a free energy level.
10. Nautical Favorable: a free wind.
11. Not bound, fastened, or attached: the free end of a chain.
a. Being a form, especially a morpheme, that can stand as an independent word, such as boat or bring.
b. Being a vowel in an open syllable, as the o in go.
1. In a free manner; without restraint.
2. Without charge.
tr.v. freed, free·ing, frees
1. To make free, as from confinement or oppression: freed the slaves.
2. To relieve of a burden, obligation, or restraint: a people who were at last freed from fear.
3. To remove obstructions or entanglements from; clear: free a path through the jungle.
4. To make available: Canceling the program freed up money for the new library.
for free Informal
[Middle English fre, from Old English frēo. V., from Middle English freen, from Old English frēon, to love, set free; see prī- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.