Definition of liberate in English:



  • 1 Set (someone) free from a situation, especially imprisonment or slavery, in which their liberty is severely restricted.

    ‘the serfs had been liberated’
    • ‘When the American soldiers liberated him, Tom began a two-year stint in various hospitals, battling for his life.’
    • ‘She was liberated in 1945 and trekked back to Poland, still cold and starving but with a one-way ticket to Warsaw.’
    • ‘From what were they supposed to be liberating us?’
    set free, free, release, let out, let go, discharge, let loose, set loose, deliver, save, rescue, extricate
    unshackle, unfetter, unchain, untie, unmanacle, unbind, unyoke
    emancipate, enfranchise, give rights to
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    1. 1.1Free (a country, city, or people) from enemy occupation.
      ‘twelve months earlier Paris had been liberated’
      • ‘We will be covering all the main events, plus the special commemorations involving the Yorkshire soldiers who fought in the Normandy landings and the battle to liberate Europe.’
      • ‘In the end, unlike in Naples, Milan, Turin, Venice, Genoa and other cities, the Resistance did not liberate the capital city.’
      • ‘He'd been there two days when U.S. troops liberated the camp on April 29, 1945.’
      • ‘There was an unspoken message - the country that twice helped liberate Europe is counting on its allies now.’
      • ‘If it had just been a few months later, he said, the camp would have been liberated.’
      • ‘That means we must wait at least nine days before arriving back to liberate the city just after it has fallen into enemy hands.’
      • ‘As towns and villages were liberated by these forces, so new revolutionary authorities were set up.’
      • ‘You came to liberate us from an unjust leader who killed and tortured us.’
      • ‘Athens was liberated by the Allies.’
      • ‘Well, I mean, the press was led in right behind the troops who were liberating those places.’
      • ‘The most horrific moments in the film come when the Allies liberate the town from Nazi rule.’
      • ‘Thank you, because you liberated us from the worst kind of dictatorship.’
      • ‘They fought on foreign shores, flew through enemy skies and risked their lives to liberate the world.’
      • ‘The pair had not seen one another since their Stalag camp was liberated by the Russians.’
      • ‘Assuming the role of Joan, you go about killing hordes of enemies in order to liberate France.’
      • ‘Years ago the Tuskegee airmen helped liberate Europe in World War II.’
      • ‘When he was 15, his town was liberated by U.S. soldiers.’
    2. 1.2Release (someone) from a state or situation that limits freedom of thought or behavior.
      ‘the use of computers can liberate students from the constraints of disabilities’
      ‘the arts can have a liberating effect on people’
      • ‘The freeing may leave us with little guidance, but if it has liberated us, we have learned how to see so much more.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, there's a sense of daring and freedom here that is liberating.’
      • ‘It has liberated him from issues where right and wrong are not the whole story and freed him to approach events with energy and a sense of righteousness.’
      • ‘Masked parties have an amazingly liberating effect on people, and making the surroundings a little surreal also helps transport your guests to party land.’
      • ‘The effect is liberating in that it emphasizes communal trends while extracting the artistic production from its national compartments.’
      • ‘Their freedom liberated others to challenge the regime's authority.’
      • ‘I find that striving for ‘originality’ often cripples me rather than liberates me.’
      • ‘I'd been up all night, but in a sense I think that liberated me.’
      • ‘It also liberated me writing in English, because when I wrote in Greek, every word meant so much.’
      • ‘Art must rather be liberated from commercial constraints, whilst enjoying complete freedom from censorship or control over its production.’
      • ‘While his tactics of double-play may not liberate him from the effects of the paralyzing obsessions of others, it might release him from the possibility of his own and those of his audience.’
      • ‘Her parents wisely signed her up for ballet classes when she was four and liberated her from her own anxiety.’
      • ‘Such freedom liberates us from having to worry about it.’
      • ‘Now that technology has liberated us from that onerous requirement, conferences will become more popular than ever.’
      • ‘He is willing to reverse the laws of cause and effect in order to liberate us from ourselves.’
      • ‘Only the truth will liberate us and in so doing heal the wounds.’
      • ‘Working on this mural really liberated me in a lot of ways.’
      • ‘They have the freedom to imprison themselves within a state of mind, and the freedom to liberate themselves from it.’
      • ‘This liberates us to be both principled and pragmatic!’
      • ‘Successive choreographers have found the artform's freedom liberating, but they have either struggled to find a shared set of rules or deliberately avoided them.’
    3. 1.3Free (someone) from rigid social conventions, especially those concerned with accepted sexual roles.
      ‘ways of working politically that liberate women’
      • ‘The whole point of the experience was to be liberated from social conventions, not to create new ones.’
      • ‘Celebrating the nerd liberates so many young people.’
      • ‘The image is of the passive Asian woman subject to oppressive practices within the Asian family with an emphasis on wanting to ‘help’ Asian women liberate themselves from their role.’
    4. 1.4informal Steal (something)
      ‘the drummer's wearing a beret he's liberated from Lord knows where’
      • ‘After liberating a pie from a lukewarm oven, I trundled over to the cash register, where two hippy-looking young women dressed in shawls and all were waiting with a loaf of bread.’
      • ‘I was successful in liberating a total of 16 chocolate eggs from your clutches, notwithstanding additional emergency supplies in the form of mini eggs, buttons and cake.’
      purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shoplift
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    5. 1.5Chemistry Physics Release (gas, energy, etc.) as a result of chemical reaction or physical decomposition.
      ‘energy liberated by the annihilation of matter’
      • ‘If that methane were suddenly liberated from its enclosing clathrate prison the impact on the carbon isotope record would be immediate and severe.’
      • ‘Although glucose and oxygen react spontaneously to liberate energy, they do so exceedingly slowly at room temperature outside of a cell.’
      • ‘Consider what would happen if part of the energy liberated during the reaction went into vaporizing the water.’
      • ‘The compound lithium hydride, LiH, is a polar covalent solid that reacts with water to liberate hydrogen gas and form basic solutions of the metal hydroxide.’
      • ‘The bond thus liberated is accepted by a water molecule.’


Late 16th century: from Latin liberat- freed from the verb liberare, from liber free.