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[lib-uh-reyt] /ˈlɪb əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), liberated, liberating.
to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
Slang. to steal or take over illegally:
The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.
Origin of liberate
1615-25; < Latin līberātus (past participle of līberāre to free), equivalent to līberā- verb stem + -tus past participle suffix. See liberal, -ate1
Related forms
liberative, liberatory
[lib-er-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈlɪb ər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
liberator, noun
preliberate, verb (used with object), preliberated, preliberating.
reliberate, verb (used with object), reliberated, reliberating.
unliberated, adjective
1. deliver, unfetter, disenthrall, loose. See release.
1. imprison; enthrall. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for liberate
  • We have a responsibility to work together in the coming months to remove these barriers and liberate our economy.
  • It can liberate a good teacher to become even better.
  • One of your first missions is to liberate an army of headbangers from their toil in the underground mines.
  • The trick to using aluminium to liberate hydrogen is to prevent this layer from forming.
  • It's the right time to liberate our children from the heavy hands of history.
  • But that should not interfere with continuing efforts to liberate the private sector.
  • She was arguing that big companies should liberate their staff from stultifying hierarchies.
  • It was from this house where she led the resistance struggle that would ultimately liberate a nation.
  • Appeals to liberate growers from their serfdom to the champagne houses are no longer in fashion.
  • Two huge constraints impede the government's efforts to liberate the countryside's economic potential.
British Dictionary definitions for liberate


verb (transitive)
to give liberty to; make free
to release (something, esp a gas) from chemical combination during a chemical reaction
to release from occupation or subjugation by a foreign power
to free from social prejudices or injustices
(euphemistic or facetious) to steal
Derived Forms
liberator, noun
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 liberate

1620s, from Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare "set free," from liber "free" (see liberal). Meaning "to free an occupied territory from the enemy" (often used ironically) is from 1942. Related: Liberated; liberating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for liberate



To steal or appropriate, originally something in conquered enemy territory (WWII Army)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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