Definition of free adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//friː//
    ; NAmE NAmE//friː//
    BrE BrE//ˈfriːə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfriːər//
    , freest
    BrE BrE//ˈfriːɪst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfriːɪst//
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    not controlled
  1. 1  not under the control or in the power of somebody else; able to do what you want I have no ambitions other than to have a happy life and be free. Students have a free choice of courses in their final year. free to do something You are free to come and go as you please. (informal) ‘Can I use the phone?’ ‘Please, feel free (= of course you can use it).’
  2. 2  not restricted or controlled by anyone else; able to do or say what you want A true democracy complete with free speech and a free press was called for. the country’s first free election They gave me free access to all the files.
  3. not prisoner
  4. 3  (of a person) not a prisoner or slave He walked out of jail a free man.
  5. animal/bird
  6. 4  not tied up or in a cage The researchers set the birds free.
  7. no payment
  8. 5  costing nothing Admission is free. free samples/tickets/advice We're offering a fabulous free gift with each copy you buy. You can't expect people to work for free (= without payment).
  9. not blocked
  10. 6  clear; not blocked Ensure there is a free flow of air around the machine.
  11. without something
  12. 7  free from/of something not containing or affected by something harmful or unpleasant free from difficulty/doubt/fear free from artificial colours and flavourings It was several weeks before he was completely free of pain.
  13. 8  -free (in adjectives) without the thing mentioned virtually fat-free yogurt tax-free earnings a trouble-free life
  14. not attached/trapped
  15. 9  free (of something) not attached to something or trapped by something Pull gently on the free end of the rope. They had to be cut free from their car after the accident. She finally managed to pull herself free.
  16. not being used
  17. 10  not being used He held out his free hand and I took it. Is this seat free?
  18. not busy
  19. 11  free (for something) (of a person or time) without particular plans or arrangements; not busy If Sarah is free for lunch I'll take her out. Keep Friday night free for my party. What do you like to do in your free time (= when you are not working)?
  20. ready to give
  21. 12free with something (often disapproving) ready to give something, especially when it is not wanted He's too free with his opinions.
  22. translation
  23. 13a free translation is not exact but gives the general meaning compare literal
  24. Word OriginOld English frēo (adjective), frēon (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vrij and German frei, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘to love’, shared by friend.Extra examples At last he’s totally free from pain. He said he would let the prisoners go free. He was trapped by his leg, but his rescuers cut him free. She managed to pull free of her attacker. She walked free from jail. The birds were set free. The exhibition is free for children under ten. The government wants to leave companies free to make their own decisions. The hospital needs to keep some beds free for emergencies. The organization wants to remain free from government control. The ship broke free from its moorings. The students are entirely free to choose their own courses. They let their prisoner free. They tied him up but he managed to get free. This attractive poster comes free with the magazine. We might be able to get some plants for free. We try and keep Sundays free. We will send you our booklet free of charge. We’ve managed to keep the garden free of weeds this year. animals roaming free across the plains ‘Can I use the phone?’ ‘Please, feel free. He subdues one of the wild horses and then allows it to go free. He walked out of jail a free man. If Sarah is free for lunch I’ll take her out. If you can’t find a seat that’s free, you’ll have to stand. Students have a free choice of classes in their final year. The device allows you to talk on the phone with both hands free. The protesters set the animals free. There’s a new website that offers free legal advice to homeowners. What do you like to do in your free time? You can’t expect people to work for free. the country’s first free electionIdioms
    be home and dry (British English) (North American English be home free)
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    to have done something successfully, especially when it was difficult I could see the finish line and thought I was home and dry.
    informal; relaxed Life was never going to be so free and easy again.
    get, have, etc. a free hand
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    to get, have, etc. the opportunity to do what you want to do and to make your own decisions I was given a free hand in designing the syllabus.
    get, take, etc. a free ride
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    to get or take something without paying because somebody else is paying for it
    give/allow somebody/something free/full rein, give/allow free/full rein to something
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    to give somebody complete freedom of action; to allow a feeling to be expressed freely The designer was given free rein. The script allows full rein to her larger-than-life acting style. When I paint I just give my imagination free rein.
    (informal) used as a reply when somebody suggests that you should not do something It's a free country; I'll say what I like!
    there’s no such thing as a free lunch
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    (informal) used to say that it is not possible to get something for nothing
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: free