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[free-lans, -lahns, -lans, -lahns] /ˈfriˌlæns, -ˌlɑns, -ˈlæns, -ˈlɑns/
noun, Also, free lance
Also, freelancer. a person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.
a person who contends in a cause or in a succession of various causes, as he or she chooses, without personal attachment or allegiance.
verb (used without object), freelanced, freelancing.
to act or work as a freelance:
The illustrator used to be employed by us but is freelancing now.
verb (used with object), freelanced, freelancing.
to produce, sell, or accomplish as a freelance:
to freelance a magazine article.
of or relating to a freelance or the work of a freelance:
a freelance writer; freelance copyediting.
in the manner of a freelance:
She works freelance.
Also, free-lance.
Origin of freelance
free + lance1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for freelance
  • She began a freelance writing, editing, and training business earlier this year.
  • She had to decide between the comfort of a staff news job and the unknown of freelance photography.
  • freelance writers are typically paid by the article, not by the hour, so idle web-surfing does nothing but lower my paycheck.
  • Second, it must be shown that freelance testing by would-be nuclear powers does not pay off.
  • freelance translators usually work for several translation companies.
  • Yet much theatre persists in flinging freelance actors together for rehearsal periods of six weeks or less.
  • The freelance market is booming and completely unaccounted for.
  • The freelance economy is an amazing thing to behold.
  • He did a lot of freelance work for a textbook company.
  • He did not go to college, choosing freelance photography while working at a radio station instead.
British Dictionary definitions for freelance


  1. Also called freelancer. a self-employed person, esp a writer or artist, who is not employed continuously but hired to do specific assignments
  2. (as modifier): a freelance journalist
a person, esp a politician, who supports several causes or parties without total commitment to any one
(in medieval Europe) a mercenary soldier or adventurer
to work as a freelance on (an assignment, etc)
as a freelance
Word Origin
C19 (in sense 3): later applied to politicians, writers, etc
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 freelance

also free lance, free-lance, "medieval mercenary warrior," 1820 ("Ivanhoe"), from free (adj.) + lance (n.); apparently a coinage of Sir Walter Scott's. Figurative sense is from 1864; specifically of journalism by 1882.


1902, from freelance (n.). Related: Freelancer (1898); freelanced; freelancing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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