liberal Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “liberal” in the English Dictionary

"liberal" in British English

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liberaladjective

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

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  • liberal adjective (POLITICS)

C1 (of a ​politicalparty or a ​country) ​believing in or ​allowing more ​personalfreedom and ​development towards a ​fairersharing of wealth and ​power within ​society

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liberalism
noun [U] uk   us   /-ɪ.zəm/
liberality
noun [U] uk   /ˌlɪb.əˈræl.ə.ti/  us   /-t̬i/ formal
liberally
adverb uk   us   /-i/ formal
Apply the ​cream liberally to the ​affectedarea.

liberalnoun [C]

uk   /ˈlɪb.ər.əl/ /-rəl/  us   /-ɚ-/ /ˈlɪb.ər.əl/ /-rəl/  /-ɚ-/
(Definition of liberal from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"liberal" in American English

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liberaladjective

 us   /ˈlɪb·ər·əl/
  • liberal adjective (SOCIAL)

allowing many different ​types of ​beliefs or ​behavior: a liberal ​society/​person
  • liberal adjective (POLITICS)

politics & government tending to ​emphasize the need to make new ​laws when ​necessary because of ​changingconditions and to ​depend on the ​government to ​providesocialservices: a liberal ​policy/​position
  • liberal adjective (GENEROUS)

giving or given in a ​generous way: Some ​merchantsoffer very liberal ​returnpolicies, but ​others are ​strict.
  • liberal adjective (NOT EXACT)

without ​attention to or ​interest in ​smalldetails: Other ​teachers are a lot more liberal about ​spellingerrors than Mr. Brady.

liberalnoun [C]

 us   /ˈlɪb·ə·rəl/
  • liberal noun [C] (POLITICALLY LIBERAL PERSON)

a ​person who ​thinks the ​governmentneeds to make new ​laws when ​necessary because of ​changingconditions and who ​believes that the ​government should ​providesocialservices: Liberals in ​Congresssupport the ​bill.
(Definition of liberal from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"liberal" in Business English

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liberaladjective

uk   us   /ˈlɪbərəl/
respecting and ​allowing many different ​types of beliefs or ​behaviour: a liberal society/attitude/view Changing ​attitudes to sexuality are a reflection of a more liberal ​society.a liberal policy/stance The ​governmentdefends its liberal ​policy on ​softdrugs.
POLITICS used to describe ​political beliefs and ​groups that ​support more ​personal freedom and a ​fairer sharing of ​wealth and ​power in ​society: The ​federalgovernment is ​bound to be a ​coalition involving the liberal ​party.
ECONOMICS, POLITICS used to describe an ​economicsystem that ​allowsindustry to be ​free to ​develop without the involvement of ​government: The successes of liberal ​economicpolicies in the US and Britain ​act as powerful ​examples.
giving or given in a generous way: Terms were liberal, with ​small down ​payments and ​governmentfinancing.
not ​exact, and without ​attention to or ​interest in detail: They now take a more liberal interpretation of their ​powers.

liberalnoun [C]

uk   us   /ˈlɪbərəl/
someone who respects many different ​types of beliefs or ​behaviour: Liberals believe that in ​order to ​defend our own freedom we ought to ​defend those of our ​fellowcitizens.
someone who ​supportspersonal freedom and a ​fairer sharing of ​wealth and ​power in ​society: He described his opponent as a liberal who would ​tax the ​rich.
(Definition of liberal from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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