Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

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A free ticket was given to Robert in return for some slight service.

At last the vexatious work was finished, and he was free again.

A portly burgher was he, friendly of tongue and free of purse.

It was to be at his free disposal, and this was nearly the same thing as owning it.

The years roll on, the time of imprisonment is over, the man is free.

It is composed of a brave, a free, a virtuous, and an intelligent people.

And while he has any, can we be easy or free from his insults?

He himself, she learned, had taken no steps to free himself from his present mode of life.

Because we are free we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere.

At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English freo "free, exempt from, not in bondage," also "noble; joyful," from Proto-Germanic *frijaz (cf. Old Frisian fri, Old Saxon and Old High German vri, German frei, Dutch vrij, Gothic freis "free"), from PIE *prijos "dear, beloved," from root *pri- "to love" (cf. Sanskrit priyah "own, dear, beloved," priyate "loves;" Old Church Slavonic prijati "to help," prijatelji "friend;" Welsh rhydd "free").

The primary sense seems to have been "beloved, friend, to love;" which in some languages (notably Germanic and Celtic) developed also a sense of "free," perhaps from the terms "beloved" or "friend" being applied to the free members of one's clan (as opposed to slaves, cf. Latin liberi, meaning both "free" and "children").

Cf. Gothic frijon "to love;" Old English freod "affection, friendship," friga "love," friðu "peace;" Old Norse friðr, German Friede "peace;" Old English freo "wife;" Old Norse Frigg "wife of Odin," literally "beloved" or "loving;" Middle Low German vrien "to take to wife, Dutch vrijen, German freien "to woo."

Of nations, "not subject to foreign rule or to despotism," it is recorded from late 14c. (Free world "non-communist nations" attested from 1950.) Sense of "given without cost" is 1580s, from notion of "free of cost." Free lunch, originally offered in bars to draw in business, by 1850, American English. Free pass on railways, etc., attested by 1850. Free speech in Britain used of a privilege in Parliament since the time of Henry VIII. In U.S., as a civil right, it became a prominent phrase in the debates over the Gag Rule (1836).

Free enterprise recorded from 1890; free trade is from 1823. Free will is from early 13c. Free association in psychology is from 1899. Free love "sexual liberation" attested from 1822. Free range (adj.) is attested by 1960. Free and easy "unrestrained" is from 1690s.

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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.