English Expressions with the Word FREE

#1 – a free spirit / free-spirited

If you say “My sister is a free spirit” or “My sister is free-spirited,” it means she is the type of person who doesn’t follow traditions, obligations, or the typical way of doing things. Instead, she lives her life the way she wants to, not caring about what society thinks.

#2 – freeway

Freeway is another word for the highway – a wide street with multiple lanes, where cars drive fast. This type of street can also be called an expressway or parkway.

Image source

There are a lot of names for this type of road in English! (Image source)

#3 – freeload / freeloader

To freeload means to take advantage of other people’s generosity or hospitality, without contributing any effort yourself. A person who does this is called a freeloader. 

For example, if your friend has been sharing your apartment for the past six months without helping to pay rent, and he is unemployed but he sits around watching TV all day instead of looking for a job, then he is a freeloader!

#4 – freelance / freelancer

freelancer is an independent worker who sells his/her services to various clients, without being officially employed by any of them. Freelancers usually work based on contracts, which can be temporary/short-term or long-term.

The word freelance can be a verb (ex. I spent a year freelancing after college) or an adjective (I do freelance graphic design).

#5 – give someone free rein

If you give someone free rein, it means you give them unlimited freedom/control to make decisions and take action. For example, if you are the director of Human Resources, the company might give you free rein to hire and fire employees.

#6 – feel free to

Telling someone “Feel free to… (do something)” is an informal way to give the person permission to do it. The person can then do that action without checking with you to see if it’s OK. For example, if your cousin is visiting you and he’s hungry, you could say “Feel free to eat anything in the fridge.”

"Feel free to eat anything in the fridge." (Image source)

“Feel free to eat anything in the fridge.” (Image source)

#7 – get away/off scot-free

If you get away scot-free or get off scot-free, it means you escape a situation without any penalty or punishment. For example, “Jim was caught driving drunk, but he got off scot-free because his father is the police chief.” Or, “No one could prove that Martha was stealing from the company, so she got away scot-free.”

#8 – free will

The expression free will refers to humans’ ability to make decisions and choose a course of action based on their own thoughts, beliefs, and desires – without anybody else forcing them to act a certain way. If I do something of my own free will, it means I chose to do it myself; nobody else made me do it.

#9 – free speech / freedom of speech

These terms refer to people’s right to express any opinion in public without the government preventing this. When the government controls or blocks some communication, this is called censorship (n.). So in a country that has free speech, the government may not censor (v.) the citizens’ expressions.

Free speech is protected by the U.S. consitution. (Image source)

Free speech is protected by the U.S. consitution. (Image source)

#10 – Are you free…? / I’m free (on) Wednesday morning.

Asking “Are you free sometime this week?” means “Are you available?” or “Do you have some free time in your schedule?”

You can reply with a phrase like this:

  • I’m free (on) Wednesday morning.
    The word “on” is optional
  • I’m free anytime this week.
  • I’m not free on Monday afternoon, but I am all day Tuesday.
  • Unfortunately I’m busy the entire week, but how about next week?

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