from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
- adj. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
- adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
- adj. Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
- adj. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
- adj. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
- adj. Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
- adj. Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.
- adj. Archaic Permissible or appropriate for a person of free birth; befitting a lady or gentleman.
- adj. Obsolete Morally unrestrained; licentious.
- n. A person with liberal ideas or opinions.
- n. A member of a Liberal political party.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Pertaining to those arts and sciences the study of which is considered "worthy of a free man" (as opposed to servile, mechanical); worthy, befitting a gentleman.
- adj. Generous, willing to give unsparingly;.
- adj. Ample, abundant; generous in quantity.
- adj. Unrestrained, licentious.
- adj. Widely open to new ideas, willing to depart from established opinions or conventions; permissive.
- adj. Open to political or social changes and reforms associated with either classical or modern liberalism.
- n. One with liberal views, supporting individual liberty (see Wikipedia's article on Liberalism).
- n. Someone left-wing; one with a left-wing ideology.
- n. A supporter of any of several liberal parties.
- n. One who favors individual voting rights, human and civil rights, individual gun rights, and laissez-faire markets (also called "classical liberal"; compare libertarian).
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman; refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean
- adj. Bestowing in a large and noble way, as a freeman; generous; bounteous; open-handed.
- adj. Bestowed in a large way; hence, more than sufficient; abundant; bountiful; ample; profuse
- adj. Not strict or rigorous; not confined or restricted to the literal sense; free.
- adj. Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish; enlarged in spirit; catholic.
- adj. Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious.
- adj. 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
- n. One who favors greater freedom in political or religious matters; an opponent of the established systems; a reformer; in English politics, a member of the Liberal party, so called. Cf. Whig.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Befitting a freeman, or a state, condition, or situation free from narrow limitations; free in scope; of wide or ample range or extent; not narrowly limited or restricted; expanded; comprehensive: as, a liberal education; the liberal arts or professions; liberal thought or feeling; liberal institutions; a liberal policy in government; a liberal interpretation or estimate.
- Free in views or opinions; expansive in purpose or aim; not narrow, bigoted, or intolerant; specifically, favorable to personal, political, or religious liberty; opposed to narrow conservatism or undue restriction: as, a liberal thinker; a liberal Christian; a liberal statesman; the Liberal party (in the politics of some countries).
- Free in bestowal or concession; generously inclined; ready to impart or bestow; bountiful; munificent; magnanimous; followed by with or of before the thing bestowed, and to before the recipient: as, a liberal donor; to be liberal with one's money; to be liberal to an opponent in debate.
- Freely bestowed or yielded; marked by bounty or abundance; generous; ample: as, a liberal donation; a liberal harvest or flow of water; to make a liberal concession or admission.
- Free in character or quality; candid; open; hence, with an added implication, unduly free; unrestrained; unchecked; licentious.
- Synonyms Catholic, tolerant.
- Charitable, open-handed, free-handed.
- 4, Full, abundant, plentiful, unstinted.
- n. A person of liberal principles; one who believes in liberal reforms, or advocates intellectual, political, or religious liberty.
- n. [capitalized] Specifically, a member of a Liberal party in politics.
- n. One who holds liberal views in theology.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets
- adj. not literal
- adj. having political or social views favoring reform and progress
- adj. given or giving freely
- adj. showing or characterized by broad-mindedness
- adj. tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition
- n. a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties
Middle English, generous, from Old French, from Latin līberālis, from līber, free; see leudh- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
The adjective is from Old French liberal, from Latin liberalis ("befitting a freeman"), from liber ("free"); it is attested since the 14th century. The noun is first attested in the 1800s. (Wiktionary)