Definition of liberty in English:

liberty

Line breaks: lib|erty
Pronunciation: /ˈlɪbəti
 
/

noun (plural liberties)

[mass noun]
  • 1The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s behaviour or political views: compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty
    More example sentences
    • In Condorcet's view modern society and individual liberty could be served only by public instruction understood in this sense.
    • Technology has the capability to impose graduated restrictions on liberty, but this is an issue the Government is specifically avoiding confronting.
    • In addition to providing society with political liberty and justice, a single tax on land promotes economic efficiency.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved: people who attacked phone boxes would lose their liberty
    More example sentences
    • May I remind you that if you drive while disqualified over the next two years, you could lose your liberty.
    • Mrs Camidge said: ‘For the last two months he has been living in fear of losing his liberty through his foolishness.’
    • Criminals are being warned that they could lose their liberty and their lavish lifestyle thanks to the dedicated efforts of a North Yorkshire Police team.
  • 1.2The power or scope to act as one pleases: individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own preferences
    More example sentences
    • Freedom is a condition of the mind: this means that you have the internal power to exercise your liberty.
    • Are there regions of the globe where the inhabitants have been condemned by their environment never to enjoy liberty, never to exercise their reason?
    • It means that you cannot deny that a human being has the rightful liberty to pursue - to practice or to seek - happiness as he sees fit.
    Synonyms
    freedom, independence, free rein, freeness, licence, self-determination; free will, latitude, option, choice; volition, non-compulsion, non-coercion, non-confinement; leeway, margin, scope, elbow room
  • 1.3 Philosophy A person’s freedom from control by fate or necessity.
    More example sentences
    • He said in part that Hobbes's freedom or liberty, which amounts to not being frustrated, is no great thing.
    • There would also be a loss of liberty or freedom for the morally wicked, since they would be punished or otherwise made to suffer.
    • It would, I think, be generally agreed that he has laid down a necessary condition of liberty.
  • 3 [count noun] informal A presumptuous remark or action: how did he know what she was thinking?—it was a liberty!
  • 4 Nautical Shore leave granted to a sailor.
    More example sentences
    • Second, when their workload permits, Sailors get special liberty the day before their final exams to study, similar to what many commands do for advancement exams.
    • Sailors on the ship, ashore on liberty or in the local community would raise their level of awareness and be on the lookout for anything unusual.
    • A Sailor, on liberty in a foreign port, was returning to his ship when a knife-wielding assassin attacked him.

Phrases

at liberty

take liberties

  • 1Behave in an unduly familiar or easy manner towards someone or something: you’ve taken too many liberties with me
    More example sentences
    • I got on well with my teammates, but I think that would have been taking liberties towards the club.
    • Over time, the children of family members may take liberties that when left unchecked, become real problems.
    • Still, the advertisements are part of a growing strain of Web marketing that takes liberties with requested Web pages, browsers and e-mail in-boxes, making it harder for people to ignore ads.
    Synonyms
    act with overfamiliarity, act with familiarity, show disrespect, act with impropriety, act indecorously, be impudent, commit a breach of etiquette, act with boldness, act with impertinence, show insolence, show impudence, show presumptuousness, show presumption, show forwardness, show audacity, be unrestrained; take advantage of, exploit
  • 2Treat something freely, without strict faithfulness to the facts or to an original: the scriptwriter has taken few liberties with the original narrative
    More example sentences
    • Doing so is disingenuous, and takes liberties with the facts and the policy of this matter.
    • This is one of the problems of an adaptation, where the writer must decide between a faithful, textually based adaptation and one that takes liberties in order to make it a better film.
    • For Parker, the traditionalists who accuse him of taking liberties are one of the targets.

take the liberty

Venture to do something without first asking permission: I took the liberty of checking out a few convalescent homes for him
More example sentences
  • I took the liberty of fiddling with the scansion in Lines 3 and 7.
  • My head feels as if it is stuffed with cotton wool, my tongue is made from plywood and someone took the liberty of welding a high pitched electronic buzzer to the inside of my middle ear.
  • I took the liberty of participating in the coed and competitive basketball leagues and found, to my surprise, that there are a lot of good players.

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French liberte, from Latin libertas, from liber 'free'.

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