|a calculus or concretion found in the stomach or intestines of certain animals, esp. ruminants, formerly reputed to be an effective remedy for poison.|
|an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle.|
|1.||personal liberty, as from slavery, bondage, serfdom, etc|
|2.||liberation or deliverance, as from confinement or bondage|
|3.||the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties|
|5.||the right or privilege of unrestricted use or access: the freedom of a city|
|6.||autonomy, self-government, or independence|
|7.||the power or liberty to order one's own actions|
|8.||philosophy the quality, esp of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained; able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances|
|9.||ease or frankness of manner; candour: she talked with complete freedom|
|10.||excessive familiarity of manner; boldness|
|11.||ease and grace, as of movement; lack of effort|
|[Old English frēodōm]|
The law of Moses pointed out the cases in which the servants of the Hebrews were to receive their freedom (Ex. 21:2-4, 7, 8; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-55; Deut. 15:12-18). Under the Roman law the "freeman" (ingenuus) was one born free; the "freedman" (libertinus) was a manumitted slave, and had not equal rights with the freeman (Acts 22:28; comp. Acts 16:37-39; 21:39; 22:25; 25:11, 12).
in humans, the power or capacity to choose among alternatives or to act in certain situations independently of natural, social, or divine restraints. Free will is denied by those who espouse any of various forms of determinism. Arguments for free will are based on the subjective experience of freedom, on sentiments of guilt, on revealed religion, and on the universal supposition of responsibility for personal actions that underlies the concepts of law, reward, punishment, and incentive. In theology, the existence of free will must be reconciled with God's omniscience and goodness (in allowing man to choose badly), and with divine grace, which allegedly is necessary for any meritorious act. A prominent feature of modern Existentialism is the concept of a radical, perpetual, and frequently agonizing freedom of choice. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, speaks of the individual "condemned to be free" even though his situation may be wholly determined.
Learn more about freedom with a free trial on Britannica.com.