free ( freer comparative) ( freest superlative) ( frees 3rd person present) ( freeing present participle) ( freed past tense & past participle )
1 adj If something is free, you can have it or use it without paying for it.
The seminars are free, with lunch provided., ...a free brochure with details of gift vouchers.
free of charge
2 adj Someone or something that is free is not restricted, controlled, or limited, for example by rules, customs, or other people.
oft ADJ to-inf
The government will be free to pursue its economic policies..., The elections were free and fair..., Economists argued that freer markets would quickly revive the region's economy..., He fears that until state subsidies are removed, Russia will never have a truly free press..., Dogs were allowed to roam free and 48 sheep were killed.
freely adv ADV with v
They cast their votes freely and without coercion on election day..., Merchandise can now circulate freely among the EU countries.
3 verb If you free someone of something that is unpleasant or restricting, you remove it from them.
The 30-year-old star is trying to free himself from his recording contract. V n of/from n
4 adj Someone who is free is no longer a prisoner or a slave.
ADJ n, v-link ADJ, ADJ after v
More than ninety prisoners have been set free so far under a government amnesty.
5 verb To free a prisoner or a slave means to let them go or release them from prison.
Israel is set to free more Lebanese prisoners... V n
The act had a specific intent, to protect freed slaves from white mobs. V-ed
6 adj If someone or something is free of or free from an unpleasant thing, they do not have it or they are not affected by it.
v-link ADJ of/from n
...a future far more free of fear..., The filtration system provides the crew with clean air free from fumes.
7 adj A sum of money or type of goods that is free of tax or duty is one that you do not have to pay tax on.
v-link ADJ of n
8 verb To free someone or something means to make them available for a task or function that they were previously not available for.
Toolbelts free both hands and lessen the risk of dropping hammers... V n
His deal with Disney will run out shortly, freeing him to pursue his own project... V n to-inf
There were more civilians working for the police, freeing officers from desk jobs. V n from/of/for n
Free up means the same as free., phrasal verb
It can handle even the most complex graphic jobs, freeing up your computer for other tasks. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
9 adj If you have a free period of time or are free at a particular time, you are not working or occupied then.
She spent her free time shopping..., I am always free at lunchtime.
10 adj If something such as a table or seat is free, it is not being used or occupied by anyone, or is not reserved for anyone to use.
There was only one seat free on the train...
11 adj If you get something free or if it gets free, it is no longer trapped by anything or attached to anything.
v n ADJ, v-link ADJ, oft ADJ of n
He pulled his arm free, and strode for the door..., The shark was writhing around wildly, trying to get free.
12 verb If you free someone or something, you remove them from the place in which they have been trapped or become fixed.
It took firemen two hours to cut through the drive belt to free him... V n
13 adj When someone is using one hand or arm to hold or move something, their other hand or arm is referred to as their free one.
He snatched up the receiver and his free hand groped for the switch on the bedside lamp...
14 adj If you say that someone is free with something such as advice or money, you mean that they give a lot of it, sometimes when it is not wanted.
v-link ADJ with n (disapproval)
They weren't always so free with their advice..., They would often be free with criticism, some of it unjustified.
15 You say `feel free' when you want to give someone permission to do something, in a very willing way.
feel free phrase oft PHR to-inf (formulae)
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask me.
16 If you do something or get something for free, you do it without being paid or get it without having to pay for it.
for free phrase PHR after v
I wasn't expecting you to do it for free...
to give someone a free hand
hand free up
2 phrasal verb To free up a market, economy, or system means to make it operate with fewer restrictions and controls. ...policies for freeing up markets and extending competition. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
Duty-free goods are sold at airports or on planes or ships at a cheaper price than usual because you do not have to pay import tax on them. adj
duty-free shop ( duty-free shops plural ) A duty-free shop is a shop, for example at an airport, where you can buy goods at a cheaper price than usual, because no tax is paid on them. n-count
footloose and fancy-free
-free combines with nouns to form adjectives that indicate that something does not have the thing mentioned, or has only a little of it. For example, sugar-free drinks do not contain any sugar, and lead-free petrol is made using only a small amount of lead. comb in adj
...a salt-free diet.
free agent ( free agents plural )
1 n-count If you say that someone is a free agent, you are emphasizing that they can do whatever they want to do, because they are not responsible to anyone or for anyone.
We are not free agents; we abide by the decisions of our president.
2 n-count If a sports player is a free agent, he or she is free to sign a contract with any team.
free and easy , free-and-easy
Someone or something that is free and easy is casual and informal. adj
...the free and easy atmosphere of these cafés.
Free enterprise is an economic system in which businesses compete for profit without much government control. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
free fall ( free falls plural ) , free-fall
1 n-var If the value or price of something goes intofree fall, it starts to fall uncontrollably. (JOURNALISM) oft into/in N
Sterling went into free fall..., The price did a free fall.
2 n-uncount In parachuting, free fall is the part of the jump before the parachute opens.
Free-floating things or people are able to move freely and are not controlled or directed by anything. adj ADJ n
...a system of free-floating exchange rates.
free-for-all ( free-for-alls plural )
1 n-sing A free-for-all is a situation in which several people or groups are trying to get something for themselves and there are no controls on how they do it.
2 n-count A free-for-all is a disorganized fight or argument which lots of people join in.
free form , free-form
A free form work of art or piece of music has not been created according to a standard style or convention. adj ADJ n
free house ( free houses plural ) In Britain, a free house is a pub which is not owned by a particular company and so can sell whatever beers it chooses. n-count
free kick ( free kicks plural ) In a game of football, when there is a free kick, the ball is given to a member of one side to kick because a member of the other side has broken a rule. n-count
A belief in free love is the belief that it is acceptable and good to have sexual relationships without marrying, often several relationships at the same time.
free market ( free markets plural ) A free market is an economic system in which business organizations decide things such as prices and wages, and are not controlled by the government. (BUSINESS) n-count usu sing
...the creation of a free market., ...free market economies.
free-marketeer ( free-marketeers plural ) A free-marketeer is someone, especially a politician, who is in favour of letting market forces control the economy. (BUSINESS) n-count
free pass ( free passes plural ) A free pass is an official document that allows a person to travel or to enter a particular building without having to pay. n-count
free port ( free ports plural ) A free port is a port or airport where goods can be brought in from foreign countries without payment of duty if they are going to be exported again. (BUSINESS) n-count
free radical ( free radicals plural ) Free radicals are atoms that contain one or more unpaired electrons. Free radicals are believed to be a cause of ageing, heart disease, and some cancers. (TECHNICAL) n-count usu pl
Free-range means relating to a system of keeping animals in which they can move and feed freely on an area of open ground. adj usu ADJ n
free spirit ( free spirits plural ) If you describe someone as a free spirit, you admire them because they are independent and live as they want to live rather than in a conventional way. n-count
A free-standing piece of furniture or other object is not fixed to anything, or stands on its own away from other things. adj
...a free-standing cooker.
free-thinker ( free-thinkers plural ) If you refer to someone as a free-thinker, you admire them because they work out their own ideas rather than accepting generally accepted views. n-count
Free-to-air television programmes and channels are broadcast to all televisions and do not require a subscription or payment. adj usu ADJ n
Free to air is also an adverb., adv
For a change, the fight will be televised free to air on the Fox Network.
1 n-uncount If you believe in free will, you believe that people have a choice in what they do and that their actions have not been decided in advance by God or by any other power.
...the free will of the individual.
2 If you do something of your own free will, you do it by choice and not because you are forced to do it.
of your own free will phrase PHR after v
Would Bethany return of her own free will, as she had promised?
GM-free products or crops are products or crops that do not contain any genetically modified material. adj
...GM-free soya., ...food that is meant to be GM-free.
A hands-free telephone or other device can be used without being held in your hand. adj ADJ n
An interest-free loan has no interest charged on it. adj usu ADJ n
He was offered a £10,000 interest-free loan...
Interest-free is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
Customers allowed the banks to use their money interest-free.
Something such as petrol or paint which is lead-free, is made without lead, or has no lead added to it. adj
A nuclear-free place is a place where nuclear energy or nuclear weapons are forbidden. adj usu ADJ n
Strathclyde council has declared itself a nuclear-free zone.
If you have a rent-free house or office, you do not have to pay anything to use it. adj usu ADJ n
He was given a new rent-free apartment.
Rent-free is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
They told James he could no longer live rent-free.
If you say that someone got away scot-free, you are emphasizing that they escaped punishment for something that you believe they should have been punished for. adv ADV after v (emphasis)
Others who were guilty were being allowed to get off scot-free.
Tax-free is used to describe income on which you do not have to pay tax. adj ADJ n, amount ADJ, v-link ADJ
...a tax-free investment plan.
A toll-free telephone number is one which you can dial without having to pay for the call.
(AM) adj usu ADJ n
Toll-free is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
Call our customer-service staff toll-free.
in BRIT, use freefone
Something that is trouble-free does not cause any problems or difficulties. adj
The carnival got off to a virtually trouble-free start with the police reporting only one arrest.