1. Authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act; especially, a formal permission from the proper authorities to perform certain acts or to carry on a certain business, which without such permission would be illegal; a grant of permission; as, a license to preach, to practice medicine, to sell gunpowder or intoxicating liquors. To have a license and a leave at london to dwell. (P. Plowman)
2. The document granting such permission.
3. Excess of liberty; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum; disregard of law or propriety. License they mean when they cry liberty. (Milton)
4. That deviation from strict fact, form, or rule, in which an artist or writer indulges, assuming that it will be permitted for the sake of the advantage or effect gained; as, poetic license; grammatical license, etc.
Synonym: leave, liberty, permission.
Origin: f. Licence, L. Licentia, fr. Licere to be permitted, prob. Orig, to be left free to one; akin to linquere to leave. See Loan, and cf. Illicit, Leisure.