Definition of license in English:


(British licence)


  • 1Grant a licence to.

    ‘a pub has to be licensed by the local justices’
    with object and infinitive ‘he ought not to have been licensed to fly a plane’
    ‘a licensing authority’
    • ‘The authority to license television stations, sanction newspapers and to regulate cell phone companies was recently transferred to a commission whose members were chosen by the US.’
    • ‘How low can the TV licensing authority sink in their pursuit of people not paying their licence fee?’
    • ‘Each signed a separate agreement and each agreement provided that the licensor might also occupy the premises or might license others to occupy jointly with the licensees.’
    • ‘The Alberta government recently licensed a private hospital to perform hip surgery, using a facility that was closed down by the same government.’
    • ‘Bexley Council's licensing committee was due to give the plan its approval last night.’
    • ‘If you're doing that sort of activity you need to be licenced, and we'd prefer to be neutral in our approach to the particular medium that you're using to do that.’
    • ‘The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 requires a keeper of a dangerous wild animal to be licensed by the local authority and to take out insurance against liability to third parties.’
    • ‘He said the company would continue to work with City of York Council licensing chiefs to find a proposal that could be acceptable to all parties.’
    • ‘The hotel is licensed to perform civil ceremonies and the suites can cater for up to 80 people.’
    • ‘Bars run by York University could win the right to open until the small hours - if licensing chiefs agree.’
    • ‘Small films without extensive music licensing budgets would have to attract bands based on the quality of the film.’
    • ‘It accuses authorities of allowing dumps to operate without a licence, 20 years after agreeing to licence them.’
    • ‘He also confirmed that the warehouse was licensed for fireworks storage, but could not explain why it was situated dangerously close to a residential area.’
    • ‘A vehicle with seven seats or less, like a black cab, was classed as a taxi and had to be licensed by the local authority.’
    • ‘According to the reviews the extent of knowledge gained by such measures as performance in licensing examinations is at best unclear.’
    • ‘I've heard reports that some of the Landfill sites accept waste that they are not licensed to accept.’
    1. 1.1 Authorize the use, performance, or release of (something)
      ‘the company expect that the drug will soon be licensed for use in the USA’
      • ‘If they were to have the use of these codes, they would be able to maintain, modify or even license the Object Codes.’
      • ‘But that was me being short-sighted - soon, people starting asking if they could license the code for commercial use, or hire me.’
      • ‘The UK licensing authorities were slow to license it for the condition.’
      • ‘It revealed on Saturday how the firm was dumped amid allegations it had not made enough effort to license its sites.’
      • ‘The result: both will soon tire of the cost and settle out-of-court, opting to license each other's intellectual property.’
      • ‘Hypericum perforatum extracts are licensed in continental Europe for the treatment of depression and anxiety.’
      • ‘There were difficulties in obtaining a licence to publish the Dialogue, and soon after it was licensed at Rome the sudden death of Prince Cesi disorganized the Lincean Academy which had intended to publish it.’
      • ‘Is it your hope that they will agree to license your technologies, or do you hope to force them to withdraw from the market?’
      • ‘The new authority plans to licence all private wheel clampers by the same date.’
      • ‘If he thinks he can get money for licensing the music for this film, he'll probably do it.’
      • ‘They're screening the film on the 18th September but haven't licensed this new soundtrack which might have created more interest.’
      • ‘And since it also licenses its music for commercial use, I reasoned that film students have to eventually graduate, and will then want to pay for our music because of our earlier generosity.’
      • ‘There was no way a video game maker's going to license their title for the film.’
      • ‘The publishers are trying to get this changed, for until it is there are a number of authors' agents who won't let the publishers license their authors' audiobooks to audible.’
      • ‘Soon after it was licensed and introduced in the US, stray cases of polio were observed within the incubation period of its administration to children.’
    2. 1.2dated Permit (someone) to do something.
      with object and infinitive ‘he was licensed to do no more than send a message’
      • ‘At worst it licenses us to hate and abuse those who are different.’
      • ‘The friendship licensed him to write love-letters which he could deny were love-letters even as he nudged her into thinking that they were.’


Late Middle English: from licence. The spelling -se arose by analogy with pairs such as practice, practise.