Definition of liberate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlɪbəreɪt/


[with object]
1Set (someone) free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression: the serfs had been liberated
More example sentences
  • From what were they supposed to be liberating us?
  • 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.
set free, free, release, let out, let go, discharge, set/let loose, deliver, save, rescue, extricate;
unshackle, unfetter, unchain, untie, unmanacle, unbind, unyoke;
emancipate, enfranchise, give rights to;
historical manumit
rare disenthral
1.1Free (a place or people) from enemy occupation: twelve months earlier Paris had been liberated
More example sentences
  • Well, I mean, the press was led in right behind the troops who were liberating those places.
  • Assuming the role of Joan, you go about killing hordes of enemies in order to liberate France.
  • They fought on foreign shores, flew through enemy skies and risked their lives to liberate the world.
1.2Release (someone) from a situation which limits freedom of thought or behaviour: she is liberated from the constraints of an unhappy marriage (as adjective liberating) the arts can have a liberating effect on people
More example sentences
  • Such freedom liberates us from having to worry about it.
  • 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.
  • He is willing to reverse the laws of cause and effect in order to liberate us from ourselves.
1.3Free (someone) from social conventions, especially those concerned with accepted sexual roles: ways of working politically that liberate women
More example sentences
  • The whole point of the experience was to be liberated from social conventions, not to create new ones.
  • 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.
  • Celebrating the nerd liberates so many young people.
2 Chemistry & Physics Release (gas, energy, etc.) as a result of chemical reaction or physical decomposition: the energy liberated by the annihilation of matter is huge
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • If that methane were suddenly liberated from its enclosing clathrate prison the impact on the carbon isotope record would be immediate and severe.
  • Consider what would happen if part of the energy liberated during the reaction went into vaporizing the water.
3 informal Steal (something): the drummer’s wearing a beret he’s liberated from Lord knows where
More example sentences
  • 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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lib¦er|ate

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