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or laisser-faire

[les-ey-fair; French le-sey-fer] /ˌlɛs eɪˈfɛər; French lɛ seɪˈfɛr/
of, relating to, or conforming to the principles or practices of laissez faire.
Origin of laissez-faire
Related forms
laissez-faireism, noun

laissez faire

or laisser faire

[les-ey fair; French le-sey fer] /ˌlɛs eɪ ˈfɛər; French lɛ seɪ ˈfɛr/
the theory or system of government that upholds the autonomous character of the economic order, believing that government should intervene as little as possible in the direction of economic affairs.
the practice or doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of others, especially with reference to individual conduct or freedom of action.
1815-25; < French: literally, allow to act Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for laissez-faire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is the stage of unhampered egoism, of laissez-faire applied to morals.

  • But 'laissez-faire' is not the best but only the second best.

    Statesman Plato
  • So ran the arguments of those early American advocates of laissez-faire.

  • laissez-faire, Supply-and-demand,—one begins to be weary of all that.

    Past and Present Thomas Carlyle
  • laissez-faire and much else being once well dead, how many 'impossibles' will become possible!

    Past and Present Thomas Carlyle
British Dictionary definitions for laissez-faire

laissez faire

/ˌlɛseɪ ˈfɛə; French lese fɛr/
  1. Also called individualism. the doctrine of unrestricted freedom in commerce, esp for private interests
  2. (as modifier): a laissez-faire economy
indifference or noninterference, esp in the affairs of others
Derived Forms
laissez-faireism, laisser-faireism, noun
Word Origin
French, literally: let (them) act
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 laissez-faire

laissez faire, 1822, French, literally "let (people) do (as they think best)," from laissez, imperative of laisser "to let, to leave" (from Latin laxare, from laxus "loose;" see lax) + faire "to do" (from Latin facere; see factitious). From the phrase laissez faire et laissez passer, motto of certain 18c. French economists, chosen to express the ideal of government non-interference in business and industry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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laissez-faire in Culture
laissez-faire [(les-ay-fair, lay-zay-fair)]

French for “Let (people) do (as they choose).” It describes a system or point of view that opposes regulation or interference by the government in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary to allow the free enterprise system to operate according to its own laws.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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