Definition of license in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlīs(ə)ns/


(British licence)
1A permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade (especially in alcoholic beverages): a gun license [as modifier]: vehicle license fees
More example sentences
  • Virtually no account is taken of the often cruel results of losing one's licence - loss of job, and all that can follow from that.
  • Phantom was a former pirate radio station, which had tried several times to get an official radio licence.
  • All stockings must first be washed in an approved disinfectant and hung on boundary gateposts together with a copy of the official licence.
permit, certificate, document, documentation, authorization, warrant;
certification, credentials;
pass, papers
1.1Formal or official permission to do something: logging is permitted under license from the Forest Service
More example sentences
  • The method is not permitted in Australia, although permission under licence can be obtained by scientists in the UK.
  • However, they cannot travel without strict permission and license from the King.
  • So far, two ice cream manufacturers have managed to snag the official license for low-carb super-premium ice cream products.
1.2A writer’s or artist’s freedom to deviate from fact or from conventions such as grammar, meter, or perspective, for effect: artistic license
More example sentences
  • Organizations hoping to discredit him claim he manipulates facts and stretches artistic license.
  • He was a playwright and memoirist who clearly believed in a writer's artistic license to embroider.
  • Okay, so maybe the movie takes a little artistic license with the facts.
disregard for the facts, inventiveness, invention, creativity, imagination, fancy, freedom, looseness
1.3Freedom to behave as one wishes, especially in a way that results in excessive or unacceptable behavior: the government was criticized for giving the army too much license
More example sentences
  • I believe that the Government has taken excessive licence from the views of the select committee.
  • Equally important, it protects freedom from itself, tempering excesses of individual license by postulating a higher moral code.
  • By avoiding the messiness of debate that a real democracy requires, we have given license to the excesses we now bemoan.
permission, authority, right, a free hand, leave, authorization, entitlement, privilege, prerogative;
liberty, freedom, power, latitude, scope, free rein, carte blanche, a blank check, the go-ahead
1.4 (a license to do something) A reason or excuse to do something wrong or excessive: police say that the lenient sentence is a license to assault
More example sentences
  • I have been rather busy since my last posting: Tom came back from his stag weekend which sadly was less debauched than he had license to be involved in.
  • The squirearchy does not have some exclusive licence to indulge in barbarism just because grandpa thought slaughter was a sport and the tenants know their place.
  • Giving them free license to print will result in their indiscriminate covering of the entire surface with gadget prints.


(British also licence) [with object]
1Grant a license to (someone or something) to permit the use of something or to allow an activity to take place: brokers must be licensed to sell health-related insurance [with object and infinitive]: he ought not to have been licensed to fly a plane (as adjective licensing) a licensing authority
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
permit, allow, authorize, grant/give authority, grant/give permission, grant/give a license;
certify, empower, entitle, enable, give approval, let, qualify, sanction
informal rubber stamp
1.1Authorize the use, performance, or release of (something): the drug is already licensed for human use he was required to delete certain scenes before the film could be licensed for showing
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.2 dated Give permission to (someone) to do something: [with object and infinitive]: he was licensed to do no more than send a message
More example sentences
  • 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.


license to print money

A very lucrative commercial activity, typically one perceived as requiring little effort.
Example sentences
  • Everyone and his dog now knows that commercial radio is a licence to print money, and they all want quick bucks.
  • And that's kind of a license to print money - particularly if you're also trying to make your service the definitive place to buy the media products themselves…
  • A liquor license on Whyte Avenue is generally known to be a license to print money.



Example sentences
  • Each installation displaces or pre-empts a sale of proprietary, licensable and copyright-protected software.
  • He explains why so many studios are channeling their resources into big, special-effects-driven fantasies with licensable characters and targeted at juvenile audiences.
  • However, after months of development, it is now available as a licensable product, a software solution that Web designers can use in-house to create sites and CD-ROMs that work together seamlessly.


Pronunciation: /ˈlīs(ə)nsər/
Example sentences
  • The licensers are comparable to the Inquisition: they must either claim infallibility or ‘bewitch’ their fellow citizens with Latin phrases.
  • They are using badly forged ID cards in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of professional DSHS licensers.
  • While guarantees vary, licensers frequently demand about 50% of the sales forecast.


Pronunciation: /ˈlīs(ə)nsər/
Example sentences
  • Thus attribution can be to the author, or to another entity, or both, as the licensor specifies.
  • It is argued that proponents of such development methods must engage in policy discussions to limit the exclusionary authority of intellectual property licensors, by ensuring broad user rights to protected works.
  • It's the one place you can see so many licensors.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin licentia 'freedom, licentiousness' (in medieval Latin 'authority, permission'), from licere 'be lawful or permitted'.

Words that rhyme with license

delicense, licence

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: li·cense

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