Definition of freedom in English:



mass noun
  • 1The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

    ‘we do have some freedom of choice’
    count noun ‘he talked of revoking some of the freedoms’
    • ‘While York College itself has not taken a stance on the issue, the biologists have academic freedom to speak out, he said.’
    • ‘There is a real political battle on now to defend some of our basic freedoms.’
    • ‘The freedom of MPs to speak the truth as they see it has been a jealously protected right in our Westminster system over the centuries.’
    • ‘At issue are weighty concepts like press freedom, freedom of belief and, of course, human rights.’
    • ‘So many women of my generation take for granted that women had always had our freedoms.’
    • ‘I'm not ignorant to the battle by women to win votes, freedoms and equality.’
    • ‘This is excellent news and a triumph for civil liberty and freedom of choice.’
    • ‘Charges of censorship, however, will not impress a country that likes to consider itself a champion of literary freedom.’
    • ‘They have demanded reforms including free election of the president, a reduction of presidential powers, and freedom of the press.’
    • ‘In recent years, examples of media abuses of press freedom have been common.’
    • ‘Violence or intimidation against the media could hamper press freedom and eventually deprive the public of its right to information.’
    • ‘We were taken to hear the president speak on religious freedom.’
    • ‘Our media are a disgrace to the hallowed concept of freedom of the press.’
    • ‘The law gives the government the power to restrict freedom of the press and freedom of assembly and to shut down theaters.’
    • ‘As usual, those in the pay of the pesticide industry presume to speak on behalf of freedom of choice and a balanced approach.’
    • ‘Fellman won widespread acclaim as an authority in constitutional law and a champion of academic freedom.’
    • ‘These days, in theory, just about everyone in the country has freedom to speak.’
    • ‘If they can do this so easily then imagine what other freedoms are being compromised.’
    • ‘The freedom of scientists to speak out and share their insights is one of the fundamentals of a modern knowledge-based democracy.’
    • ‘The present regime is not very tolerant of academic freedom.’
    right to, entitlement to
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    1. 1.1 Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
      ‘he was a champion of Irish freedom’
      • ‘These are age-old canards that undermine freedom and encourage authoritarian states.’
      • ‘In the long-term, however, the United States has far more to gain from living up to its self-image as the champion of freedom.’
      • ‘Like a jailer who throws you into a prison cell while slipping you the key, Europe simultaneously gave the world despotism and freedom.’
      • ‘We champion freedom not only because it is practical and beneficial but because it is morally right and just.’
      • ‘It was not just in communist-ruled eastern Europe that he spoke up for freedom.’
      • ‘Personally, I'd rather have freedom, democracy, self-determination, and so on.’
      • ‘Natural law provides ‘a framework for government that permits human freedom,’ Jones said.’
      • ‘The struggle cannot be separated from the struggle for freedom of despotism of all kinds.’
      • ‘At stake is the fate of freedom and democracy as we know it.’
      • ‘He denigrated a foreign policy that delivers the rhetoric of freedom and not the reality of economic progress and true liberty.’
      • ‘He believed that the cause of freedom in a subject nation could not advance any faster than that of its most subject class.’
      • ‘Crazy Horse bravely fought for the freedom of the Sioux Nation.’
      • ‘The writings of Jacques Derrida on freedom and democracy mentioned earlier are not without relevance here as well.’
      • ‘Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice.’
      • ‘Lawlessness is arriving as a domestic and foreign assault on legal ideas that endorse freedom and human rights.’
      • ‘Monarchy or republic, despotism or freedom, what's the difference?’
      • ‘Why did we fight for our freedom and suffer so many battles if our ancient ‘protectors’ are then going to give our land away to the highest bidder?’
      • ‘They speak of freedom and democracy, and our way of life and our values, and they deride those who reason why.’
      • ‘Quite a powerful speech, especially the last part on foreign policy and freedom.’
      • ‘He does not see the United States as a champion for freedom.’
      independence, self-government, self-determination, self-legislation, self rule, home rule, sovereignty, autonomy, autarky, democracy
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    2. 1.2 The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
      • ‘Several approaches to the subject of religion and freedom have been touched upon.’
      • ‘In the social and ethical realm, Chicherin placed great emphasis on individual human freedom.’
      • ‘This chapter raises profound questions concerning freedom, necessity, and the individual will.’
      • ‘The ideals of freedom and self-determination have never been realised; we should see them as sirens calling us on, not as blueprints to be copied from the past.’
      • ‘Kant's attempt to reconcile determinism and freedom involves placing us in two different realms.’
      • ‘You cannot have self-determination without full freedom.’
      • ‘Freedom for Hegel is not freedom to do as we please; it consists in having a free mind.’
      • ‘Conferences of philosophers on determinism and freedom aren't the same as they used to be.’
      • ‘This causality of freedom can rule over us only in a condition of free thought and communication.’
      • ‘He also believed that moral agency and freedom are compatible with metaphysical necessity.’
      • ‘A functionalist theory, by contrast, brings with it a determinist conception of freedom.’
      • ‘For Sartre the necessity of freedom is paramount in his thinking.’
      • ‘Therefore, freedom suggests autonomy and the absence of social bonds.’
      • ‘The notion of freedom was redefined subjectively, as an inner state that can be maintained despite the vicissitudes of political life.’
      • ‘From the philosophical point of view the principles relate to the problem of how to combine necessity and freedom.’
      • ‘To demand free sexuality as proof of freedom and ‘inwardness’ is in Hegel's eyes sophistry, serving the exploitation of women.’
      • ‘As a young man he took well to the Epicurean view of freedom and independence of spirit, though this led him into the alley of atheism.’
      • ‘She shows us that acknowledging our freedom is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for ethical action.’
      scope, latitude, leeway, margin, flexibility, facility, space, breathing space, room, elbow room
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  • 2The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

    ‘the shark thrashed its way to freedom’
    • ‘But in the end, they all prefer the safety of enslavement to the dangers of freedom.’
    • ‘Because of his actions 46 people were imprisoned unjustly and lost their freedom for more than three years.’
    • ‘As with Mexican legal support for slavery, actual military policy did not consistently grant freedom to the enslaved.’
    • ‘I had a bad feeling about this that I just couldn't shake, and even this close to freedom, I still felt imprisoned.’
    • ‘His parents and elder brother left for Tokyo to appeal for his freedom through Tokyo-based foreign news organizations.’
    • ‘In practice, however, the court served to confirm enslavement at least as often as it established freedom.’
    • ‘Thwaites ultimately managed to escape Germany, after his former boss on the Hamburg waterfront intervened on his behalf and he was able to buy himself freedom.’
    • ‘‘Being in Colditz taught us all the value of freedom and tolerance for your fellow men,’ says Lockwood.’
    • ‘I could give a life for my freedom, or spare a life for my imprisonment.’
    • ‘That busy line must be a cruel and tantalising reminder of lost freedom for the inmates of the upstate New York penitentiary.’
    • ‘He was a former slave who bought his own freedom and then risked his life to help other enslaved Africans escape.’
    • ‘Belle shows him that the bird responds better to freedom and kindness than to imprisonment and threats.’
    • ‘Black sailors helped runaways stow-away to freedom, risking imprisonment to challenge slavery.’
    • ‘Eighteen months came and went until her boyfriend and a Congressman were able to secure her freedom.’
    • ‘Finally, after three years of my imprisonment, I had tasted freedom again.’
    • ‘Imprisoned Jews could buy freedom if they promised to leave the country, abandoning their assets.’
    • ‘The question of whether or not the killers qualify for freedom under the same agreement is one that has given rise to much public debate and disquiet.’
    • ‘The residents of the close-knit community of Beaconsfield prepared to celebrate the men's freedom and off licences stocked up on supplies.’
    • ‘Although she is freeborn, Alice forfeits her freedom by assisting her enslaved lover's thwarted escape.’
    • ‘The temporary freedom was also subject to the condition that he be back at his place of confinement by late Sunday afternoon.’
    liberty, liberation, release, emancipation, deliverance, delivery, discharge, non-confinement, extrication
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    1. 2.1 The state of being unrestricted and able to move easily.
      ‘the shorts have a side split for freedom of movement’
      • ‘Through the dance, he wanted to show he was now in the reality of life, with freedom to move.’
      • ‘The goal for her is to be able to gain enough freedom of movement so that she can throw her feet up to the left and away from the attacker's body.’
      • ‘Free-range hens, for instance, have greater freedom to move about, but are more susceptible to feather pecking and disease.’
      • ‘Moreover, you have complete freedom to move the camera, and you can even cause it to follow along behind a guest so you can essentially see what it sees.’
      • ‘While clever enough in theory, the chairs in reality clutter the stage and restrict the cast's sorely needed freedom to move.’
      • ‘The particles in a liquid are loosely bound together, but they move about with relative freedom.’
      • ‘The men no longer wore the stiff skirt or tonnelet of the 18th century but simple tights, trunks, and tunics which gave them more freedom to move.’
      • ‘To create width in the backswing, the right arm needs freedom to move back and up into the proper position at the top.’
    2. 2.2 Unrestricted use of something.
      ‘the dog has the freedom of the house when we are out’
      • ‘I had the freedom of the city the Wednesday after that and then it was just the mayhem of being taken from place to place.’
      • ‘We had more or less complete freedom of the island and basically went wherever we wanted.’
      • ‘We kept chickens which had the freedom of the garden - free range par excellence!’
      • ‘Their 100 guests will have freedom of the house and garden for the rest of the day.’
      • ‘What we can do is ensure the future safety of the residents, especially the children, who enjoy the freedom of their village.’
      • ‘Because the entire school is rarely more than 60, it is common for children to have the freedom of the whole building and be in touch with all the staff.’
  • 3freedom fromThe state of not being subject to or affected by (something undesirable)

    ‘government policies to achieve freedom from want’
    • ‘Two other things that war was fought for were freedom of speech and freedom from European control.’
    • ‘I find it interesting that not long ago we fought hard for freedom from foreign landlords.’
    • ‘This was a symbol of freedom from the social and economic oppression of the time.’
    • ‘Who could blame her if she decided to reject Royal status in favour of freedom from the burden of civic responsibility?’
    • ‘We need freedom from our own warped ideas of what is right and what is not.’
    • ‘The greater the freedom from the dead hand of state control, the better our health service is likely to become.’
    • ‘Celebrate your freedom from the technological yokes of modern life.’
    • ‘India won its freedom from colonial rule, ending nearly 200 years of British rule.’
    • ‘That's supposedly the day that you colonial types won your freedom from us cruel European overlords.’
    • ‘Women wanted equal access to positions of power and freedom from the stereotyping of them as inadequate for certain kinds of work.’
    • ‘We stood on the side of freedom from a fascist dictator - it is as simple as that.’
    • ‘When you hire a private jet, you get complete flexibility and freedom from the usual constraints of flying.’
    • ‘By the same token the most important factor in transforming their possibilities was freedom from colonial rule.’
    • ‘It's freedom of an inner kind, freedom from the dictates of greed, of hatred, of confusion.’
    • ‘It would create the incentive among young people to work hard to obtain their freedom from their parents that home ownership gives.’
    • ‘It's a kind of freedom from just being tied to objects and things that are in the ‘real world’.’
    • ‘It was also the last of village France, with palpable limits, yet freedom from ephemeral diversions.’
    • ‘Consider the consequences of our freedom from instinctual or environmental control.’
    • ‘We as a country surrendered and submitted for ages until we got our freedom from the British.’
    • ‘A question of an individual's freedom from unlawful detention is always serious.’
    exemption, immunity, dispensation, exception, exclusion, release, relief, reprieve, absolution, exoneration
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  • 4the freedom of —British A special privilege or right of access, especially that of full citizenship of a city granted to a public figure as an honour.

    ‘he accepted the freedom of the City of Glasgow’
    • ‘Blue skies and glorious sunshine greeted the ship's company of HMS Manchester when they exercised the freedom of the namesake city.’
    • ‘He was given the freedom of the city of London in 1981 and retired in 1989.’
    • ‘Councillors from Preston vowed to launch a campaign to grant him the freedom of the city.’
    • ‘Footballing legend John Charles has been given the freedom of his home city, Swansea, more than 50 years after he moved to Yorkshire to become one of the game's all-time greats.’
    • ‘It was the warship's first return home since it had been granted the freedom of the city six years earlier.’
    • ‘During the brief service he said he was ‘deeply touched and honoured to received the freedom of the city’.’
    • ‘Today, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, will receive the freedom of the city on behalf of the Navy.’
    • ‘The notion of granting people the freedom of the city dates back 1085, when a city charter was granted to Cork.’
    • ‘On completion of the weekend she was granted the freedom of her affiliated city, Chester.’
    • ‘Mayor Lawrence Yule has awarded them the freedom of the city - just the third time the honour has been given.’
    • ‘Most notably, he followed in the footsteps of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George in being awarded the freedom of the city.’
    • ‘The only other individual not from Edinburgh to be given the freedom of the city was Nelson Mandela in 1997.’
    • ‘The week after, I was given the freedom of the city by the mayor.’
    • ‘It is expected to include the reading of the Freedom Scroll - which decrees the RAF base's rights to the freedom of the city.’
    • ‘Late in 2002 the Prince of Wales visited Ripon to receive the freedom of the city.’
    • ‘The veteran broadcaster was unusually lost for words yesterday over moves to grant him the freedom of the seaside town he has made his home.’
    • ‘After his official welcome, both at the old abbey and the cathedral, he received the freedom of the city at the Town Hall.’
    • ‘He may receive the freedom of a city but not a government office.’
    • ‘He set up a charity for unemployed teenagers in Liverpool, and was recently honoured with the freedom of the city.’
    • ‘A spokesperson for Limerick City Council said the freedom of the city has never been conferred posthumously.’
  • 5archaic Familiarity or openness in speech or behaviour.

    • ‘We were surprised to find an openness and freedom between us we hadn't experienced before.’
    • ‘They think that they can make themselves as agreeable to the men as their successful rivals, by adopting the same style and allowing the same freedom of conversation.’
    • ‘I talked a great deal to him with the freedom I have long used to him on this and on other subjects.’
    naturalness, openness, lack of inhibition, lack of reserve, casualness, informality, lack of ceremony, spontaneity, ingenuousness
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Old English frēodōm (see free, -dom).