free Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “free” in the English Dictionary

"free" in British English

See all translations

freeadjective, adverb

uk   us   /friː/

free adjective, adverb (NOT LIMITED)

B2 not ​limited or ​controlled: [+ to infinitive] Am I free (= do I have ​permission) toleave now? I'll give you a ​key, so you'll be free to come and go as you like. Please feel free tointerrupt me if you don't ​understand anything. The ​agreement gives ​companies free access to the ​markets of ​membercountries. A ​greatdeal has been ​achieved, most ​notably free elections (= ​elections in which ​people can ​vote as they ​wish).free and easy relaxed and ​informal: The ​atmosphere in the ​office is ​fairly free and ​easy.
More examples

free adjective, adverb (NO CHARGE)

A2 costing nothing, or not ​needing to be ​paid for: I got some free ​cinematickets. Members all ​receive a free ​copy of the ​monthlynewsletter. The ​elderlytravel free on ​publictransport. We will ​installyourwashingmachine free of ​charge/for free (= without ​charge).
More examples

free adjective, adverb (NOT IN PRISON)

B2 not a ​prisoner any ​longer, or having ​unlimitedmovement: She ​left the ​court a free woman after the ​case against her ​collapsed because of a ​legaltechnicality. The new ​government has ​decided to set all ​politicalprisoners free. She went/​walked free after the ​charges against her were ​dropped. I ​let the ​dogsrun free in the ​park.
More examples

free adjective, adverb (LOOSE)

not in a ​fixedposition or not ​joined to anything: Both ​bookcasesstand free of the ​wall. The ​bolts have ​worked themselves free because of the ​vibrations. Rescuers took several ​hours to ​cut the ​survivors free from the ​wreckage.

freeadjective

uk   us   /friː/

free adjective (NOT BUSY)

A2 not doing anything ​planned or ​important, or ​available to be used: I do a lot of ​reading in my free time. She's in a ​meeting at the ​moment, but she should be free tosee you in ten ​minutes. I'm ​working in the ​café all this ​week, but I've got a free ​evening next ​Monday. Excuse me, is this ​seat free (= is anyone ​intending to ​sit in this ​seat)? We ​queued for ​half an ​hourwaiting for a free ​space in the ​carpark. If you take these ​bags, that will give me a free ​hand to ​open the ​door.
More examples

free adjective (WITHOUT)

C1 [after verb] not having something that is ​unwanted or ​unpleasant: The ​organization is a ​charitableenterprise, so it is free fromtaxworldwide. She'll never be ​completely free of the ​disease. Ensure the ​wound is free from/ofdirt before ​applying the ​bandage.

free adjective (GIVING/USING OFTEN)

free with giving or using often or in ​largeamounts: He's ​rather free with his wife's ​money. She's very free with ​advice but she never ​seems to ​act on it herself. He's very free with his ​criticism!make free with UK disapproving to use something that ​belongs to someone ​else a lot: Don't her ​parentsmind her making free with ​theirhouse while they're on ​holiday?

free adjective (CHEMICAL)

specialized chemistry If an ​element is free, it is not ​combined with anything ​else or ​attached to anything ​else: free ​oxygen/​nitrogen

freeverb

uk   us   /friː/

free verb (NOT IN PRISON)

B2 [T] to ​allow someone to ​leave a ​prison or ​place where they have been ​kept: After a ten-hour ​siege the ​gunmanagreed to free the ​hostages. The ​prisoner was fromjail.
More examples

free verb (MAKE LOOSE)

[T] to ​move or make ​loose someone or something that is ​caught or ​heldsomewhere: Both men were freed from the ​wreckage after a four-hour ​operation. In ​vain he ​tried to free the ​rope around his ​hands.

free verb (REMOVE LIMITS)

[T + obj + to infinitive ] to ​remove the ​limits or ​controls on someone or something: Her ​retirement from ​politics will free her (= ​provide her with enough ​time) to write her ​memoirs.

free verb (MAKE AVAILABLE)

[T] to make something ​available for someone to use: They ​planned to ​extend the ​carpark, freeing ​existingparkingspaces for ​visitors. Can you ​cancel my ​meetings - I need to free (up) the ​afternoon to write this ​report.
Phrasal verbs

-freesuffix

uk   us   /-friː/

free suffix (NO CHARGE)

used at the end of words to ​mean "without having to ​pay": They ​agreed to ​let us ​live there ​rent-free. Many ​banks are now ​offering interest-free ​overdrafts to ​students.

free suffix (WITHOUT)

used at the end of words to ​mean "without": lead-free ​fuel No ​workingenvironment is ​entirely stress-free. The ​journey was ​surprisingly hassle-free.
(Definition of free from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"free" in American English

See all translations

freeadjective, adverb

 us   /fri/

free adjective, adverb (NOT LIMITED)

[-er/-est only] not ​limited or ​controlled: [+ to infinitive] You are free to come and go as you ​please. [+ to infinitive] Please ​feel free to ​askquestions. Free ​elections will be ​held in two ​months.

free adjective, adverb (NOT IN PRISON)

not or no ​longer a ​prisoner or an ​enslavedperson: She ​left the ​court a free woman. In the 1700s, Mamaroneck was ​home to a free ​blackcommunity.

free adjective, adverb (NO CHARGE)

[not gradable] costing nothing; not ​needing to be ​paid for: When you ​buy a ​dinner for over $10, you get a ​soda free. We will ​installyourwashingmachine free of ​charge (= without ​cost).

free adjective, adverb (NOT HELD)

[-er/-est only] not ​held in a ​fixedposition or not ​joined to anything: He ​grabbed the free end of the ​rope. Mechanics ​checked the ​plane to ​see if any of the ​bolts had ​worked themselves free.

freeadjective

 us   /fri/

free adjective (NOT BUSY)

[not gradable] not doing anything ​planned or ​important, or not being used: We have ​plans for ​Fridaynight but we’re free the ​rest of the ​weekend. I do a lot of ​reading in my free ​time.

free adjective (WITHOUT)

[-er/-est only] not having something that is ​unwanted or ​unpleasant: After many ​months of ​treatment, she was ​declared free of ​disease.

freeverb

 us   /fri/

free verb (RELEASE FROM PRISON)

[T] to ​allow someone to ​leave a ​prison or ​place where they have been ​kept: The ​hostages were all freed.

free verb (RELEASE FROM LIMITS)

[T] to ​release someone or something from ​limits or ​controls: [+ to infinitive] The ​inheritance freed him to ​travel.

free verb (RELEASE FROM DUTY)

[T always + adv/prep] to ​release someone from something that is ​unwanted or ​unpleasant: He ​longed to be freed of all his ​obligations.

free verb (MAKE LOOSE)

[T] to ​release someone or something that is ​physicallyheld or trapped: They ​worked to free the man trapped in the ​wreckage of his ​car.
Phrasal verbs

-freesuffix

 us   /fri/
without: tax-free toll-free The ​superintendentlives here rent-free.
(Definition of free from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"free" in Business English

See all translations

freeadjective

uk   us   /friː/
costing nothing: They received two free ​return air-tickets every ​year. Tomorrow, ​shoppers will receive free ​samples of the store's famous chocolate ​chipcookies.free to/for sb The Bank's 3,030 ​ATMs would continue to be free to everyone.
not ​limited or ​controlled: We know that freedom and ​opportunity can truly ​thrive in a free ​society that is also a ​responsiblesociety. The ​websitespokesperson said that its ​opinions are ​protected as free speech.be free to do sth Members of the ​publicbuyingdirect from an ​insurer are free to ​inquire about its ​securityrating.
something that is free is ​available to be used because no one else is using it: Is this ​desk free?
not in a ​fixedposition or not ​joined to anything: free to do sth With the autocue, your ​hands and ​head are free to communicate body ​language more powerfully.
not doing anything ​planned or important: free to do sth Are you free to ​attend tomorrow's ​boardmeeting?
not having something that is ​unwanted: free from sth Members must be free from ​politics and outside ​influences when making decisions.free of sth They proved through ​testing that their ​products were free of ​contamination.
there's no such thing as a free lunch used to say that nothing is free ​even if it appears to be, for ​example, if someone gives you something they probably want something back from you in ​return
See also

freeadverb

uk   us   /friː/
without having to ​pay for something: They are then given a ​businessaccount free of ​charge by the ​bank. You can ​access the ​onlinedatabase for free.

freeverb [T]

uk   us   /friː/
to make something ​available for someone to use: free (up) sth The ​chairman has promised tough ​action to ​cutcosts and free up ​funds to ​growcorebusinesses.
to ​remove the ​limits or ​controls on someone or something: free sth from sth The basic ​aim is to free the ​housingmarket from ​councilcontrol.

-freesuffix

(also free)
used at the end of words to ​mean 'without': It is supposed to be virtually pollution-free and ​produce both electricity and hydrogen. The ​returns are not risk-free.tax-/interest-/duty-free Your husband could put the ​money in a ​tax-freecashISA.
(Definition of free from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of free?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

chestnut

a large tree with leaves divided into five parts and large round nuts that can be eaten

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More