Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “liberal”

liberal

adjective uk   /ˈlɪb.ər.əl/ us    /-ɚ-/

liberal adjective (SOCIETY)

C1 respecting and allowing many different types of beliefs or behaviour: a liberal society/attitude Her parents were far more liberal than mine.
Opposite

liberal adjective (POLITICS)

C1 (of a political party or a country) believing in or allowing more personal freedom and a development towards a fairer sharing of wealth and power within society

liberal adjective (GENEROUS)

formal giving or given in a generous way: He was very liberal with the wine.

liberal adjective (NOT EXACT)

not exact; without attention to or interest in detail: a liberal interpretation of the law
liberalism
noun [U] uk   /-ɪ.zəm/ us  
liberality
noun [U] uk   /ˌlɪb.əˈræl.ə.ti/ us    /-t̬i/ formal
liberally
adverb uk   /-i/ formal us  
Apply the cream liberally to the affected area.

liberal

noun [C] uk   /ˈlɪb.ər.əl/ /-rəl/ us    /-ɚ-/ /ˈlɪb.ər.əl/ /-rəl/  /-ɚ-/
someone who respects many different types of beliefs or behaviour: He's a good old-fashioned liberal.
(Definition of liberal from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of liberal?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “liberal” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

monster

any imaginary frightening creature, especially one that is large and strange

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More