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’
    • ‘Small films without extensive music licensing budgets would have to attract bands based on the quality of the film.’
    • ‘The hotel is licensed to perform civil ceremonies and the suites can cater for up to 80 people.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How low can the TV licensing authority sink in their pursuit of people not paying their licence fee?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘According to the reviews the extent of knowledge gained by such measures as performance in licensing examinations is at best unclear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It accuses authorities of allowing dumps to operate without a licence, 20 years after agreeing to licence them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Bars run by York University could win the right to open until the small hours - if licensing chiefs agree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've heard reports that some of the Landfill sites accept waste that they are not licensed to accept.’
    • ‘The Alberta government recently licensed a private hospital to perform hip surgery, using a facility that was closed down by the same government.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    permit, allow, authorize, give a licence to, grant a licence to, give a permit to, grant a permit to, give authorization to, grant authorization to, give authority to, grant authority to, give the right to, grant the right to, give leave to, grant leave to, give permission to, grant permission to
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘Is it your hope that they will agree to license your technologies, or do you hope to force them to withdraw from the market?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But that was me being short-sighted - soon, people starting asking if they could license the code for commercial use, or hire me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If they were to have the use of these codes, they would be able to maintain, modify or even license the Object Codes.’
      • ‘They're screening the film on the 18th September but haven't licensed this new soundtrack which might have created more interest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hypericum perforatum extracts are licensed in continental Europe for the treatment of depression and anxiety.’
      • ‘The result: both will soon tire of the cost and settle out-of-court, opting to license each other's intellectual property.’
      • ‘There was no way a video game maker's going to license their title for the film.’
      • ‘The new authority plans to licence all private wheel clampers by the same date.’
      • ‘It revealed on Saturday how the firm was dumped amid allegations it had not made enough effort to license its sites.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The UK licensing authorities were slow to license it for the condition.’
      • ‘If he thinks he can get money for licensing the music for this film, he'll probably do it.’
      agree to, accept, approve, consent to, acquiesce in, concur in, accede to, give one's blessing to, bless, give one's seal of approval to, give one's stamp of approval to, rubber-stamp, say yes to
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2dated Permit (someone) to do something.
      with object and infinitive ‘he was licensed to do no more than send a message’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At worst it licenses us to hate and abuse those who are different.’


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