What does license mean?

Definitions for license
ˈlaɪ sənsli·cense

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. license, licence, permitnoun

    a legal document giving official permission to do something

  2. license, licencenoun

    freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech)

  3. license, licencenoun

    excessive freedom; lack of due restraint

    "when liberty becomes license dictatorship is near"- Will Durant; "the intolerable license with which the newspapers break...the rules of decorum"- Edmund Burke

  4. license, permission, permitverb

    the act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization

  5. license, licence, certifyverb

    authorize officially

    "I am licensed to practice law in this state"


  1. licensenoun

    A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.

  2. licensenoun

    The legal terms under which a person is allowed to use a product, especially software.

    Even if you bought this product, it does NOT belong to you. You have a license to use it under the terms of this agreement, until you breach this agreement.

  3. licensenoun

    Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech).

  4. licensenoun

    Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint.

  5. licensenoun

    An academic degree, the holder of which is called a licentiate, ranking slightly below doctorate, awarded by certain European and Latin-American universities.

  6. licenseverb

    The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization.

    It was decided to license Wikipedia under the GFDL.

  7. licenseverb

    Authorize officially.

    I am licensed to practice law in this state.

  8. Etymology: From licence, from licentia, from licens, present participle of licere; compare linquere, λείπω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. LICENSEnoun

    Etymology: licentia, Latin; licence, French.

    Some of the wiser seeing that a popular licence is indeed the many-headed tyranny, prevailed with the rest to make Musidorus their chief. Philip Sidney.

    Taunt my faults
    With such full licence, as both truth and malice
    Have power to utter. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    They baul for freedom in their senseless moods,
    And still revolt when truth would set them free;
    Licence they mean, when they cry liberty. John Milton.

    The privilege that ancient poets claim,
    Now turn’d to license by too just a name. Wentworth Dillon.

    Though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence; though man, in that state, have an uncontroulable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself. John Locke.

    They sent some to bring them a licence from the senate. Judith xi. 14.

    Those few abstract names that the schools forged, and put into the mouths of their scholars, could never yet get admittance into common use, or obtain the licence of publick approbation. John Locke.

    We procured a licence of the duke of Parma to enter the theatre and gallery. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself. Acts.

  2. To Licenseverb

    Etymology: licencier, French.

    He would play well, and willingly, at some games of greatest attention, which shewed, that when he listed he could license his thoughts. Henry Wotton.

    Wit’s titans brav’d the skies,
    And the press groan’d with licens’d blasphemies. Alexander Pope.


  1. License

    A license (American English) or licence (British English) is an official permission or permit to do, use, or own something (as well as the document of that permission or permit).A license can be granted by a party to another party as an element of an agreement between those parties. A shorthand definition of a license is "an authorization to use licensed material". In particular, a license may be issued by authorities, to allow an activity that would otherwise be forbidden. It may require paying a fee or proving a capability. The requirement may also serve to keep the authorities informed on a type of activity, and to give them the opportunity to set conditions and limitations. A licensor may grant a license under intellectual property laws to authorize a use (such as copying software or using a (patented) invention) to a licensee, sparing the licensee from a claim of infringement brought by the licensor. A license under intellectual property commonly has several components beyond the grant itself, including a term, territory, renewal provisions, and other limitations deemed vital to the licensor. Term: many licenses are valid for a particular length of time. This protects the licensor should the value of the license increase, or market conditions change. It also preserves enforceability by ensuring that no license extends beyond the term of the agreement. Territory: a license may stipulate what territory the rights pertain to. For example, a license with a territory limited to "North America" (Mexico/United States/Canada) would not permit a licensee any protection from actions for use in Japan. A shorthand definition of license is "a promise by the licensor not to sue the licensee". That means without a license any use or exploitation of intellectual property by a third party would amount to copying or infringement. Such copying would be improper and could, by using the legal system, be stopped if the intellectual property owner wanted to do so.Intellectual property licensing plays a major role in business, academia and broadcasting. Business practices such as franchising, technology transfer, publication and character merchandising entirely depend on the licensing of intellectual property. Land licensing (proprietary licensing) and IP licensing form sub-branches of law born out of the interplay of general laws of contract and specific principles and statutory laws relating to these respective assets.


  1. license

    A license is a formal permission or authorization granted by an authority, allowing an individual or organization to carry out certain activities which are regulated by law or carry out activities that would be otherwise considered illegal or unlawful without the license. This could be in various fields such as driving, broadcasting, using software, selling alcohol, fishing, etc.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Licensenoun

    authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act; especially, a formal permission from the proper authorities to perform certain acts or to carry on a certain business, which without such permission would be illegal; a grant of permission; as, a license to preach, to practice medicine, to sell gunpowder or intoxicating liquors

  2. Licensenoun

    the document granting such permission

  3. Licensenoun

    excess of liberty; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum; disregard of law or propriety

  4. Licensenoun

    that deviation from strict fact, form, or rule, in which an artist or writer indulges, assuming that it will be permitted for the sake of the advantage or effect gained; as, poetic license; grammatical license, etc

  5. Licenseverb

    to permit or authorize by license; to give license to; as, to license a man to preach

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. License

    Licence, lī′sens, n. a being allowed: leave: grant of permission, as for manufacturing a patented article or for the sale of intoxicants: the document by which authority is conferred: excess or abuse of freedom: a departure from rules or standards in art or literature.—v.t. Lī′cense, to grant license to: to authorise or permit.—adj. Lī′censable.—ns. Licensee′, one to whom license is granted; Lī′censer, one who grants license or permission: one authorised to license; Lī′censure, act of licensing; Licen′tiate, among Presbyterians, a person authorised by a Presbytery to preach: on the Continent, an academical dignity, forming the step from the baccalaureate to the doctorate.—adj. Licen′tious, indulging in excessive freedom: given to the indulgence of the animal passions: dissolute.—adv. Licen′tiously.—n. Licen′tiousness.—High license, a mode of regulating the traffic in alcoholic drinks by exacting a comparatively large sum for the privilege of selling such; Special license, license given by the Archbishop of Canterbury permitting the marriage of two specified persons without banns, and at a place and time other than those prescribed by law. [Fr.,—L. licentialicet.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. license

    An official permission from the Board of Trade, to such persons as it thinks fit to supply seamen or apprentices for merchant-ships in the United Kingdom. (See RUNNER, LICENSED.)

Editors Contribution

  1. license

    An official document giving permission for a specific purpose.

    We have a driving licence and other people have a dog license.

    Submitted by MaryC on May 1, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. License

    Licence vs. License -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Licence and License.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for license »

  1. selenic

  2. silence

How to pronounce license?

How to say license in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of license in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of license in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of license in a Sentence

  1. Marshall McLuhan:

    American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver's license age than at voting age.

  2. James Fenimore Cooper:

    It is a misfortune that necessity has induced men to accord greater license to this formidable engine, in order to obtain liberty, than can be borne with less important objects in view; for the press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.

  3. Mat Staver:

    The ACLU's motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.

  4. Tony Abbott:

    Plainly there are questions to be asked when someone with such a history of infatuation with extremism, violent crime and mental instability should be in possession of a gun license, we have very tough gun laws and I guess we can be pleased that he didn't have a more potent weapon at his disposal. But why did he have a gun license in the first place?

  5. James Brady:

    For target shooting, that's okay. Get a license and go to the range. For defense of the home, that's why we have police departments.

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Translations for license

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    an attitude of irreverence or contempt for a divinity
    • A. profaneness
    • B. squint-eye
    • C. urus
    • D. sundog

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