Definition of freelance in English:



  • Self-employed and hired to work for different companies on particular assignments.

    ‘a freelance journalist’
    • ‘Two weeks before graduation, Heck got his first freelance assignment illustrating children's books.’
    • ‘He worked as a freelance journalist in 1983 and 1984.’
    • ‘As a freelance writer hired to cover riots in Harlem, he took the events as the background for the novel's climax.’
    • ‘And I picked up two freelance writing assignments along the way.’
    • ‘After his retirement from Independent Newspapers in the late 1980s, he continued to work as a freelance journalist.’
    • ‘She is a freelance filmmaker, television journalist, writer and activist based in Kolkata.’
    • ‘Instead, he wrote several books about race relations and education, and became a freelance journalist.’
    • ‘I'm a freelance photographer on assignment, or at least I was…’
    • ‘So, with the turn of the new millennium, and her two boys planning to head off to university, she quit her job and set herself up as a freelance HR consultant.’
    • ‘He is also a freelance journalist and an adjunct English professor.’
    • ‘It was a freelance assignment I just couldn't refuse.’
    • ‘A less well publicised role of some public relations companies is to hire freelance journalists to cover events such as major conferences with news stories to be placed in medical publications.’
    • ‘The division employs just seven people, relying on freelance editors, designers and publicists.’
    • ‘Later, she moved to London where she worked as a freelance journalist for various newspapers and magazines, as well as TV.’
    • ‘He found work as a freelance consultant for engineering companies and soon discovered he had a knack for it.’
    • ‘After spending much of the Depression as a freelance journalist touring shanty towns, Fuller began scriptwriting in Hollywood and publishing pulp novels.’
    • ‘He returned to his apartment in Atlanta, where he worked as a freelance technology consultant.’
    • ‘The 23-year-old freelance journalist refused to go into detail about his brief but traumatic ordeal as a hostage.’
    • ‘I was a freelance journalist before I enlisted in the Australian Army in 1995 and eventually became an infantryman with two tours of duty to East Timor under my belt.’
    • ‘The Defense Department has hired more than 50 freelance writers for the sites.’
    hired, paid, bought, professional, venal, hireling
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  • Earning one's living as a freelance.

    ‘I work freelance from home’
    • ‘A greater proportion of women in the study were found to be working freelance compared to men.’
    • ‘He was promoted to deputy private secretary the following year, earning an annual salary of £180,000 until he went freelance last year.’
    • ‘He was promoted to a solo artist before he left the company to work freelance both as a dancer and choreographer.’


  • 1A freelance worker.

    • ‘He worked as a freelance in Pakistan and published a magazine about crime.’
    • ‘She is set to edit The Big Issue in Scotland, where she worked several years ago as a freelance.’
    • ‘She accepts that her BBC persona helped clinch the column, but points out that she was a newspaper freelance long before becoming a TV reporter.’
    • ‘It will be available to companies and freelances who already use computers but want to develop their skills.’
    • ‘He spotted a gap in the market when working as a freelance in York for Radio 4 and Radio 5.’
    • ‘As a lonely freelance you do, of course, have the benefit of bypassing social activities with colleagues - basically because you don't have any.’
    • ‘Without having their flights and accommodation paid for, freelances would find it hard to attend major international medical conferences and meetings.’
    • ‘Our staff and freelances are simply not allowed to go to war zones unless they have been trained.’
    • ‘Yes, it was a withdrawal of their labour, but since most jockeys are freelances and self - employed, or have a contract to ride for one principal trainer, they can often pick and choose where they want to race.’
    • ‘She began her journalist career as a reporter on the Sheffield Star and went on to work as a freelance on the Daily Mail.’
    • ‘Casual staff, agency workers, freelances and home workers were among those considered only to have ‘worker’ status rather than the more formal ‘employee’ status.’
    • ‘This funding will help new, small and expanding companies; support freelances and help attract companies to expand or relocate to the region as well as promoting international film production here.’
    • ‘Most of its contributors are freelances, like Mr Scott.’
    • ‘Over two-fifths of freelances have worked in more than one sector of the industry.’
    • ‘He turned to racecourse commentary and worked as a freelance for both ITV and the BBC.’
    • ‘He resolves to become a freelance and solo operator.’
    • ‘Publishers can shave costs by dumping their full-time employees and using freelances as and when.’
    • ‘The paper has two full-time journalists and a stable of 20 freelances, with about ten freelance photographers.’
    • ‘This is a major question for freelances and for staff members who increasingly see their material being reused either in information databanks or in other on-line and CD-Rom formats.’
    • ‘In addition to uniting the cream of the county's photographic excellence, the freelances will also benefit by having a shop window for their high-quality images.’
    writer, feature writer, columnist, correspondent, reporter, journalist, penman
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  • 2historical A medieval mercenary.

    • ‘The initial incursions into Ireland had been by marcher knights and other freelances from south Wales hired by Diarmait MacMurchadha, the King of Leinster.’
    soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hireling
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[no object]
  • Earn one's living as a freelance.

    ‘he freelanced for the BBC and regional companies’
    • ‘Of course, when freelancing, sometimes you have to stick your neck out a bit, and take a chance.’
    • ‘People who have never freelanced tend to really glamorize it and can't imagine why you'd give it up.’
    • ‘While at Yale he freelanced for the Albuquerque Tribune and wrote for the Yale Daily News.’
    • ‘For more information, advice, and support, contact one of the two professional freelancing organizations.’
    • ‘When I started freelancing, the hardest thing to do was figuring out how much to charge.’
    • ‘That's the nice thing about freelancing, I never know what I'm going to be doing from one day to the next.’
    • ‘I started freelancing because I was laid off.’
    • ‘That lasted for two years before Miriam went freelancing for the Irish Press and Evening Press.’
    • ‘Prior to joining the Echo she freelanced for the Irish Examiner, Irish News and Carrigdhoun Newspaper.’
    • ‘She has also freelanced extensively and is a published photographer.’
    • ‘After graduation, I took various video production classes, as well as freelanced as a scriptwriter and technical director for non-profit organizations.’
    • ‘She has freelanced for The New York Times, and Legal Affairs, among other publications.’
    • ‘I just learned how to do stuff through freelancing; my boss is a friend of my uncle's, so I asked for a job there.’
    • ‘He has also previously covered sports at the Tagesspiegel and freelanced for other Berlin newspapers.’
    • ‘The rest of my income is earned by scraping together what I can from freelancing and speaking.’
    • ‘After having a few questions answered and reading a little into freelancing to get an insight of what kind of business it is and what it can do for me, I think I'm all set and ready to go.’
    • ‘He had a literary bent like a few of us in this family and was getting his start as a reporter, freelancing for small newspapers, when the war came along and he enlisted.’
    • ‘The writer is in her late twenties and has taken up freelancing as a career.’
    • ‘I stayed with journalism as a career because I started to earn my way through college by freelancing for newspapers and magazines.’
    • ‘But even if your skills and experience are suitable for freelancing, it may not be right for you.’


Early 19th century (denoting a mercenary): originally as two words.