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[free-thing-ker] /ˈfriˈθɪŋ kər/
a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.
Origin of freethinker
1685-95; free + thinker
Related forms
freethinking, adjective, noun
skeptic, agnostic; atheist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for free-thinker
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This man became free-thinker, driven thereto by the bigotry and wickedness of the Churches.

    Annie Besant Annie Besant
  • Her husband seems a sensible fellow, though; but the devil of a free-thinker.

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • Doubtless, like many modern Italians, he was a free-thinker in matters of religion.

    The Garden Of Allah Robert Hichens
  • Atherstone was a philosopher, a free-thinker, and a vegetarian.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • John read his drama, The free-thinker, which was duly criticised.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • He is a free-thinker and a republican—we are church people and Tories.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • In actual modern Europe a free-thinker does not mean a man who thinks for himself.

    Orthodoxy G. K. Chesterton
  • In relation to the Israelite, the Christian is an esprit fort, a free-thinker.

    The Essence of Christianity Ludwig Feuerbach
  • In the course of this conversation, lieutenant Lismahago dropt some hints by which it appeared he himself was a free-thinker.

British Dictionary definitions for free-thinker


a person who forms his or her ideas and opinions independently of authority or accepted views, esp in matters of religion
Derived Forms
freethinking, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for free-thinker

1690s, from free (adj.) + agent noun from think.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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