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[lahy-suh ns] /ˈlaɪ səns/
formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something, as to carry on some business or profession.
a certificate, tag, plate, etc., giving proof of such permission; official permit:
a driver's license.
permission to do or not to do something.
intentional deviation from rule, convention, or fact, as for the sake of literary or artistic effect:
poetic license.
exceptional freedom allowed in a special situation.
excessive or undue freedom or liberty.
the legal right to use a patent owned by another.
verb (used with object), licensed, licensing.
to grant authoritative permission or license to.
Origin of license
1325-75; Middle English licence < Middle French < Medieval Latin licentia authorization, Latin: freedom, equivalent to licent- (stem of licēns, present participle of licēre to be allowed) + -ia -ia; see -ence
Related forms
licensable, adjective
licenseless, adjective
licenser; especially Law, licensor, noun
de-license, verb (used with object), de-licensed, de-licensing.
nonlicensable, adjective
nonlicensed, adjective
prelicense, noun, verb (used with object), prelicensed, prelicensing.
relicense, verb (used with object), relicensed, relicensing.
Can be confused
certificate, degree, diploma, license. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for licensed
  • Patents in one language, if unintelligible generally, cannot be licensed for the general good.
  • It stated that only state-licensed funeral directors may engage in the retail sale of caskets.
  • Getting licensed as a funeral director is neither easy nor compatible with monastic life, as the monks would soon discover.
  • The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public.
  • Today's treatments are typically given at home or by nonmedically licensed technicians.
  • Keeping a chimpanzee should be prohibited, except under permit by licensed experts for zoos or research purposes.
  • Every reactor operator is federally licensed and trains every fifth week.
  • We all know that there are many licensed drivers of automobiles but not all of them know how to drive.
  • The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public.
  • Local researchers are developing a prototype and a pilot line, and the solutions will be licensed to industry partners.
British Dictionary definitions for licensed


verb (transitive)
to grant or give a licence for (something, such as the sale of alcohol)
to give permission to or for
Derived Forms
licensable, adjective
licenser, licensor, 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 licensed


see licence. Related: Licensed; licensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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