What does liberty mean?

Definitions for liberty
ˈlɪb ər tilib·er·ty

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word liberty.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. autonomy, libertynoun

    immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence

  2. libertynoun

    freedom of choice

    "liberty of opinion"; "liberty of worship"; "liberty--perfect liberty--to think or feel or do just as one pleases"; "at liberty to choose whatever occupation one wishes"

  3. libertynoun

    personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression

  4. shore leave, libertynoun

    leave granted to a sailor or naval officer

  5. familiarity, impropriety, indecorum, libertynoun

    an act of undue intimacy


  1. libertynoun

    The condition of being free from control or restrictions.

    The army is here, your liberty is assured.

  2. libertynoun

    The condition of being free from imprisonment, slavery or forced labour.

    The prisoners gained their liberty from an underground tunnel.

  3. libertynoun

    The condition of being free to act, believe or express oneself as one chooses.

    The prisoners were at liberty to speak freely with their lawyers.

  4. libertynoun

    Freedom from excess government control.

  5. libertynoun

    A short period when a sailor is allowed ashore.

    We're going on a three-day liberty as soon as we dock.

  6. libertynoun

    A breach of social convention (often liberties).

    You needn't take such liberties.

  7. libertynoun

    A local government unit in medieval England – see liberty.

  8. Etymology: From liberte, from liberte, from libertas, from liber; see liberal.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Libertynoun

    Etymology: liberté, French; libertas, Latin.

    My master knows of your being here, and hath threatened to put me into everlasting liberty, if I tell you of it; for he swears, he’ll turn me away. William Shakespeare.

    O liberty! thou goddess, heav’nly bright!
    Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight,
    Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign. Addison.

    Liberty is the power in any agent to do, or forbear, any particular action, according to the determination, or thought of the mind, whereby either of them is preferred to the other. John Locke.

    As it is in the motions of the body, so it is in the thoughts of our minds: where any one is such, that we have power to take it up, or lay it by, according to the preference of the mind, there we are at liberty. John Locke.

    His majesty gave not an intire country to any, much less did he grant jura regalia, or any extraordinary liberties. Davies.

    I shall take the liberty to consider a third ground, which, with some men, has the same authority. John Locke.


  1. Liberty

    Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society from control or oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views. In theology, liberty is freedom from the effects of "sin, spiritual servitude, [or] worldly ties".Sometimes liberty is differentiated from freedom by using the word "freedom" primarily, if not exclusively, to mean the ability to do as one wills and what one has the power to do; and using the word "liberty" to mean the absence of arbitrary restraints, taking into account the rights of all involved. In this sense, the exercise of liberty is subject to capability and limited by the rights of others. Thus liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom. Liberty can be taken away as a form of punishment. In many countries, people can be deprived of their liberty if they are convicted of criminal acts. Liberty originates from the Latin word libertas, derived from the name of the goddess Libertas, who, along with more modern personifications, is often used to portray the concept, and the archaic Roman god Liber. The word "liberty" is often used in slogans, such as in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and "Liberté, égalité, fraternité".


  1. liberty

    Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views. It involves the power or scope to act as one pleases, and often refers to rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and privacy.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Libertynoun

    the state of a free person; exemption from subjection to the will of another claiming ownership of the person or services; freedom; -- opposed to slavery, serfdom, bondage, or subjection

  2. Libertynoun

    freedom from imprisonment, bonds, or other restraint upon locomotion

  3. Libertynoun

    a privilege conferred by a superior power; permission granted; leave; as, liberty given to a child to play, or to a witness to leave a court, and the like

  4. Libertynoun

    privilege; exemption; franchise; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; as, the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe

  5. Libertynoun

    the place within which certain immunities are enjoyed, or jurisdiction is exercised

  6. Libertynoun

    a certain amount of freedom; permission to go freely within certain limits; also, the place or limits within which such freedom is exercised; as, the liberties of a prison

  7. Libertynoun

    a privilege or license in violation of the laws of etiquette or propriety; as, to permit, or take, a liberty

  8. Libertynoun

    the power of choice; freedom from necessity; freedom from compulsion or constraint in willing

  9. Libertynoun

    a curve or arch in a bit to afford room for the tongue of the horse

  10. Libertynoun

    leave of absence; permission to go on shore


  1. Liberty

    Liberty is the value of individuals to have agency. Different conceptions of liberty articulate the relationship of individuals to society in different ways—including some that relate to life under a social contract or to existence in a state of nature, and some that see the active exercise of freedom and rights as essential to liberty. Understanding liberty involves how we imagine the individual's roles and responsibilities in society in relation to concepts of free will and determinism, which involves the larger domain of metaphysics. Individualist and classical liberal conceptions of liberty typically consist of the freedom of individuals from outside compulsion or coercion, also known as negative liberty. This conception of liberty, which coincides with the libertarian point-of-view, suggests that people should, must, and ought to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions, while in contrast, Social liberal conceptions of liberty place an emphasis upon social structure and agency and is therefore directed toward ensuring egalitarianism. In feudal societies, a "liberty" was an area of allodial land where the rights of the ruler or monarch were waived.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Liberty

    lib′ėr-ti, n. freedom to do as one pleases: the unrestrained enjoyment of natural rights: power of free choice: privilege: exemption: relaxation of restraint: the bounds within which certain privileges are enjoyed: freedom of speech or action beyond ordinary civility.—ns. Libertā′rian, one who believes in free-will as opposed to necessity; Libertā′rianism, the doctrine of the freedom of the will, as opposed to necessitarianism; Liber′ticide, a destroyer of liberty; Liber′tinage, debauchery; Lib′ertine, formerly one who professed free opinions, esp. in religion: one who leads a licentious life, a rake or debauchee.—adj. belonging to a freedman: unrestrained: licentious.—n. Lib′ertinism, licentiousness of opinion or practice: lewdness or debauchery.—Liberty of indifference, freedom of the will—because before action the will is undetermined as to acting or not acting; Liberty of the press, liberty to print and publish without previous permission from government.—Cap of liberty (see Bonnet rouge, under Bonnet); Religious liberty, the right of thinking about religion or of worshipping as one likes. [Fr.,—L. libertas.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. liberty

    1. A password in universal use, and hence of no value. 2. The slogan of a party or sect that seeks to enslave some other party or sect. 3. The lost latchkey to the Citadel of Power. 4. The sacred aeroplane of King Ego. 5. The right to go forth unimpeded from any place, and also to come back. 6. The Northwest Passage to Nowhere. 7. The thing Patrick Henry asked for when the bartender asked him what he would have. 8. Only a comparative term. 9. Responsibility--that is why most men dread it.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. liberty

    Permission to go on shore or ship-visiting.

Editors Contribution

  1. libertynoun

    LIBERTY: "...rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.". (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 4 April 1819)

    Through the covid pandemic, we wear a mask to ensure the liberty of others is not infringed upon.

    Submitted by kdkkovach on January 9, 2022  

  2. liberty

    To have freedom.

    Liberty is vital for all human beings.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 11, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. liberty

    Song lyrics by liberty -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by liberty on the Lyrics.com website.

Who Was Who?

  1. Liberty

    A huge lady who guards New York harbor and welcomes Italy and Poland to the United States.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Liberty is ranked #9184 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Liberty surname appeared 3,552 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Liberty.

    89% or 3,162 total occurrences were White.
    4.6% or 166 total occurrences were Black.
    2.1% or 77 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.8% or 67 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1.6% or 57 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.6% or 23 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'liberty' in Nouns Frequency: #1939

How to pronounce liberty?

How to say liberty in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of liberty in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of liberty in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of liberty in a Sentence

  1. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:

    When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated.

  2. George Orwell:

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

  3. André Breton:

    There is nothing with which it is so dangerous to take liberties as liberty itself.

  4. John Randolph:

    The principle of liberty and equality, if coupled with mere selfishness, will make men only devils, each trying to be independent that he may fight only for his own interest. And here is the need of religion and its power, to bring in the principle of benevolence and love to men.

  5. Cade Marsh:

    But if you repackage clean energy in terms of national security and liberty, you'll find people much more receptive.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for liberty

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for liberty »


Find a translation for the liberty definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"liberty." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/liberty>.

Discuss these liberty definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for liberty? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    living by preying on other animals especially by catching living prey
    A contagious
    B ravening
    C eminent
    D articulate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for liberty: