Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Official or legal permission to do or own a specified thing. See Synonyms at permission.
  • n. A document, plate, or tag that is issued as proof of official or legal permission: a driver's license.
  • n. Deviation from normal rules, practices, or methods in order to achieve a certain end or effect.
  • n. Latitude of action, especially in behavior or speech. See Synonyms at freedom.
  • n. Lack of due restraint; excessive freedom: "When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near” ( Will Durant).
  • n. Heedlessness for the precepts of proper behavior; licentiousness.
  • transitive v. To give or yield permission to or for.
  • transitive v. To grant a license to or for; authorize. See Synonyms at authorize.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.
  • n. The legal terms under which a person is allowed to use a product, especially software.
  • n. Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech).
  • n. Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint.
  • n. An academic degree, the holder of which is called a licentiate, ranking slightly below doctorate, awarded by certain European and Latin-American universities.
  • v. The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization.
  • v. Authorize officially.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. The document granting such permission.
  • n. Excess of liberty; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum; disregard of law or propriety.
  • n. 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
  • transitive v. To permit or authorize by license; to give license to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Authority or liberty to do or forbear some act; the admission of an individual, by proper authority, to the right of doing particular acts, practising a certain profession, or conducting a certain trade; a grant of authorization; a permit.
  • n. Specifically— In the law of real property, authority to do an act or series of acts upon the land of the person granting the license, without, however, conferring on the licensee any estate in the land: as, a license to enter and shore up an adjoining building, or to take sand, or bore for oil: distinguished from easement.
  • n. In patent and copyright law, permission to use the invention patented, or publish the work copyrighted, without a grant of any proprietary rights therein.
  • n. In the law of municipal corporations and police power, permission from government to pursue a vocation or carry on acts which are prohibited to those not taking a license, the object being, by the prohibition and the conditions imposed on the permission, to regulate the extent or manner of doing what is licensed.
  • n. In international law, a safe-conduct granted by a belligerent state to its own subjects, to those of its enemy, or to neutrals, to carry on a trade which is interdicted by the laws of war, and operating as a dispensation from the penalties of those laws, with respect to the state granting it.
  • n. Eccles., an authority to preach, but not to administer the sacraments, nor to represent the church as a clergyman in its ecclesiastical assemblies, which powers are conferred by ordination. The license is granted, frequently for a limited period only, by an ecclesiastical body, after examination of the candidate as to his fitness. The person licensed is termed a licentiate. In the Anglican Church, a deacon must procure a license from a bishop to enable him to preach, that power not being inherent in his office. A license from the bishop is also necessary to permit a man not in orders to act as lay reader.
  • n. A document or certificate conferring such authority or permission.
  • n. Unrestrained freedom of thought and action, especially the abuse of such freedom; excess of liberty; undue freedom; freedom misused in contempt of law and decorum; rejection of legal and moral control; libertinism.
  • n. An intentional departure from a rule or standard in art or literature; exceptional liberty taken for the sake of a particular purpose or effect: as, poetical or musical license; to use license in painting or sculpture.
  • n. Synonyms Liberty, etc. (see leave, n.); laxity.
  • To grant authority to do an act which, without such authority, would be illegal or inadmissible; remove restrictions from by a grant of permission; authorize to act in a particular character: as, to license a man to keep an inn; to license a physician or a lawyer. Also licence.
  • Generally, to permit to act without restraint; allow; tolerate; privilege: as, a licensed buffoon.
  • To permit an action of; grant liberty to for a particular proceeding.
  • To dismiss.
  • n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech)
  • n. a legal document giving official permission to do something
  • v. authorize officially
  • n. excessive freedom; lack of due restraint
  • n. the act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization

Etymologies

Middle English licence, from Old French, from Medieval Latin licentia, authorization, from Latin, freedom, from licēns, licent-, present participle of licēre, to be permitted.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French licence, from Latin licentia ("license"), from licens, present participle of licere ("to be allowed, be allowable"); compare linquere, Ancient Greek λείπω ("leave"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This license is the highest level granted by the society, and while no hierarchy should be inferred (all referees are equal regardless of classification), this is (to my knowledge) only the fifth, sixth or seventh individual to meet the criteria for the license*.

    World RPS Bullboard

  • This was the first time that I have read the term "license raj," but anyone familiar with the India of the 1950's through the 1980's, knows how misguided socialism held them back for decades.

    Forbes.com: News

  • In this regard, the simplicity of the Public Domain "license" is very tempting.

    Unported? Like what?

  • Certain license is taken when translating material from one medium to another.

    Movie Review: Watchmen | Heretical Ideas Magazine

  • This could enable the term license to last for the full five or eight years of the term regardless of how many copies were actually selling.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • The effective date of the term license agreement is January 1, 2010.

    Marketwire - Breaking News Releases

  • -- Stronger Bookings: The term license contracts signed in the fourth quarter of 2009 will contribute $8.9 million in annual contract value once they are fully implemented.

    Marketwire - Breaking News Releases

  • This renewal includes the term license for QuadraMed's Encoder Product Suite (EPS), and for related training services for all Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and existing Consolidated Patient Accounting Centers (CPAC) nationwide during the government's 2010 fiscal year (FY10).

    FinanzNachrichten.de: Aktuelle Nachrichten

  • New and Incremental Bookings: The term license contracts signed in the third quarter of 2009 will contribute approximately $6 million in annual revenue ( "annual term license contract value" or "ACV") once they are fully implemented.

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  • Subscription revenue for the quarter declined 12% to $29 million, compared with Q1 a year ago, due to further adoption of the term license model.

    Software Sector and Stocks Analysis from Seeking Alpha

Comments

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  • P: "But you don't have a license"
    SB: "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich!"

    July 19, 2009