free-wheeling

freewheeling

[free-hwee-ling, -wee-]
adjective
1.
operating in the manner of a freewheel.
2.
(of a person) moving about freely, independently, or irresponsibly.
3.
(of words, remarks, actions, etc.) unrestrained; irresponsible: Loose, freewheeling charges were traded during the argument.

Origin:
1900–05; freewheel + -ing2

Dictionary.com Unabridged

freewheel

[free-hweel, -weel]
noun
1.
a device in the transmission of a motor vehicle that automatically disengages the drive shaft whenever it begins to turn more rapidly than the engine.
2.
a form of rear bicycle wheel that has a device freeing it from the driving mechanism, as when the pedals are stopped in coasting.
verb (used without object)
3.
(of a vehicle or its operator) to coast with the wheels disengaged from the driving mechanism.
4.
to move or function freely, independently, unconcernedly, or the like (often followed by about, through, around, etc.): The two friends freewheeled around the country after graduation.

Origin:
1895–1900; free + wheel

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
freewheel (ˌfriːˈwiːl)
 
n
1.  a ratchet device in the rear hub of a bicycle wheel that permits the wheel to rotate freely while the pedals are stationary
2.  a device in the transmission of some vehicles that automatically disengages the drive shaft when it rotates more rapidly than the engine shaft, so that the drive shaft can turn freely
 
vb
3.  (intr) to coast in a vehicle or on a bicycle using the freewheel

freewheeling (ˌfriːˈwiːlɪŋ)
 
adj
1.  relating to, operating as, or having a freewheel; coasting
2.  informal free of restraints; carefree or uninhibited

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

freewheeling
1903, from free + wheel; originally of bicycle wheels that turned even when not being pedaled, later from the name of a kind of automobile drive system that allowed cars to coast without being slowed by the engine. Fig. sense is from 1911.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

free-wheeling definition


  1. mod.
    lacking restraint; flamboyant and uncontrolled. : These high-spending, free-wheeling palm-pressers appear out of nowhere at election time.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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