9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[lahy-suh ns] /ˈlaɪ səns/
noun, verb (used with object), licenced, licencing.
1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for licence
  • The only licence he will approve is one marked to show it belongs to a foreigner.
  • However, the team does not have a licence to distribute the compounds to other laboratories.
  • Otter said he'd happily apply for the first wolf-hunting licence.
  • To have and to hold this accessory requires a weapons licence and, or gun licence.
  • In one community, whenever you need to enter your house, you visit the management office and show your driving licence.
  • Currently, cameras are used to read licence plates and track motorists.
  • The measure would allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus, as long as they have the proper licence.
  • The judge not only agreed, but couldn't find any breach of the copy-protection licence either.
  • Whether any of the entrants will stay the course and win a virtual driving licence remains to be seen.
  • Those who are not eat fewer cookies, whereas those who are see the excessive pizza as a licence to pig out.
British Dictionary definitions for licence


a certificate, tag, document, etc, giving official permission to do something
formal permission or exemption
liberty of action or thought; freedom
intentional disregard of or deviation from conventional rules to achieve a certain effect: poetic licence
excessive freedom
Word Origin
C14: via Old French and Medieval Latin licentia permission, from Latin: freedom, from licet it is allowed
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 licence

mid-14c., "liberty (to do something), leave," from Old French licence "freedom, liberty, power, possibility; permission," (12c.), from Latin licentia "freedom, liberty, license," from licentem (nominative licens). present participle of licere "to be allowed, be lawful," from PIE root *leik- "to offer, bargain" (cf. Lettish likstu "I come to terms"). Meaning "formal (usually written) permission from authority to do something" (marry, hunt, drive, etc.) is first attested early 15c. Meaning "excessive liberty, disregard of propriety" is from mid-15c. No etymological justification for the spelling with -s-; attempts to confine license to verbal use and licence to noun use (cf. advise/advice, devise/device) seem to have failed.


c.1400, "grant formal authorization," from license (n.). Related: Licenced; Licencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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