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From Middle English fredom, freedom, from Old English frēodōm (freedom, state of free-will, charter, emancipation, deliverance), from Proto-Germanic *frijadōmaz (freedom), equivalent to free +‎ -dom. Cognate with North Frisian fridoem (freedom), Dutch vrijdom (freedom), Low German frīdom (freedom), Middle High German vrītuom (freedom), Norwegian fridom (freedom).


  • enPR: frē'dəm, IPA(key): /ˈfɹiːdəm/
  • (file)


freedom (countable and uncountable, plural freedoms)

  1. (uncountable) The state of being free, of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
    Having recently been released from prison, he didn't know what to do with his newfound freedom.
  2. (countable) The lack of a specific constraint, or of constraints in general; a state of being free, unconstrained.
    • 2013 June 7, Gary Younge, “Hypocrisy lies at heart of Manning prosecution”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 18:
      The dispatches […] also exposed the blatant discrepancy between the west's professed values and actual foreign policies. Having lectured the Arab world about democracy for years, its collusion in suppressing freedom was undeniable as protesters were met by weaponry and tear gas made in the west, employed by a military trained by westerners.
    Freedom of speech is a basic democratic value.
    People in our city enjoy many freedoms.
    Every child has a right to freedom from fear and freedom from want.
  3. Frankness; openness; unreservedness.
    • Milton
      I emboldened spake and freedom used.
  4. Improper familiarity; violation of the rules of decorum.

Usage notes

  • The phrase "freedom from" can have as an object: fear, want, hunger, pain, hatred, disease, stress, depression, debt, poverty, necessity, violence, war, advertising, addiction, etc.


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Derived terms