Dictionary > Liberal


1. Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman; refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean; as, a liberal ancestry; a liberal spirit; liberal arts or studies. liberal education. . a liberal tongue.
2. Bestowing in a large and noble way, as a freeman; generous; bounteous; open-handed; as, a liberal giver. liberal of praise. Infinitely good, and of his good as liberal and free as infinite. (Milton)
3. Bestowed in a large way; hence, more than sufficient; abundant; bountiful; ample; profuse; as, a liberal gift; a liberal discharge of matter or of water. His wealth doth warrant a liberal dower. (Shak)
4. Not strict or rigorous; not confined or restricted to the literal sense; free; as, a liberal translation of a classic, or a liberal construction of law or of language.
5. Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish; enlarged in spirit; catholic.
6. Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious. most like a liberal villain.
7. Not bound by orthodox tenets or established forms in political or religious philosophy; independent in opinion; not conservative; friendly to great freedom in the constitution or administration of government; having tendency toward democratic or republican, as distinguished from monarchical or aristocratic, forms; as, liberal thinkers; liberal Christians; the liberal party. I confess i see nothing liberal in this order of thoughts, as Hobbes elsewhere expresses it. (Hazlitt)
liberal has of, sometimes with, before the thing bestowed, in before a word signifying action, and to before a person or object on which anything is bestowed; as, to be liberal of praise or censure; liberal with money; liberal in giving; liberal to the poor. The liberal arts. See art. Liberal education, education that enlarges and disciplines the mind and makes it master of its own powers, irrespective of the particular business or profession one may follow.
Synonym: Generous, bountiful, munificent, beneficent, ample, large, profuse, free.
liberal, Generous. Liberal is freeborn, and generous is highborn. The former is opposed to the ordinary feelings of a servile state, and implies largeness of spirit in giving, judging, acting, etc. The latter expresses that nobleness of soul which is peculiarly appropriate to those of high rank, a spirit that goes out of self, and finds its enjoyment in consulting the feelings and happiness of others. Generosity is measured by the extent of the sacrifices it makes; liberality, by the warmth of feeling which it manifests.
Origin: f. Liberal, L. Liberalis, from liber free; perh. Akin to libet, lubet,it pleases, E. Lief. Cf. Deliver.