verb (used with object), lib·er·at·ed, lib·er·at·ing.

  1. to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
  2. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
  3. to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
  4. to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
  5. Slang. to steal or take over illegally: The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.

verb (tr)

  1. to give liberty to; make free
  2. to release (something, esp a gas) from chemical combination during a chemical reaction
  3. to release from occupation or subjugation by a foreign power
  4. to free from social prejudices or injustices
  5. euphemistic, or facetious to steal

v.1620s, from Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare “set free,” from liber “free” (see liberal). Meaning “to free an occupied territory from the enemy” (often used ironically) is from 1942. Related: Liberated; liberating.

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