KJV Dictionary Definition: liberal


LIB'ERAL, a. L. liberalis, from liber, free. See Libe.

1. Of a free heart; free to give or bestow; not close or contracted; munificent; bountiful; generous; giving largely; as a liberal donor; the liberal founders of a college or hospital. It expresses less than profuse or extravagant.

2. Generous; ample; large; as a liberal donation; a liberal allowance.

3. Not selfish, narrow on contracted; catholic; enlarged; embracing other interests than one's own; as liberal sentiments or views; a liberal mind; liberal policy.

4. General; extensive; embracing literature and the sciences generally; as a liberal education. This phrase is often but not necessarily synonymous with collegiate; as a collegiate education.

5. Free; open; candid; as a liberal communication of thoughts.

6. Large; profuse; as a liberal discharge of matter by secretions or excretions.

7. Free; not literal or strict; as a liberal construction of law.

8. Not mean; not low in birth or mind.

9. Licentious; free to excess.

Liberal arts, as distinguished from mechanical arts, are such as depend more on the exertion of the mind than on the labor of the hands, and regard amusement, curiosity or intellectual improvement, rather than the necessity of subsistence, or manual skill. Such are grammar, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music. &c.

Liberal has of before the thing bestowed, and to before the person or object on which any thing is bestowed; as, to be liberal of praise or censure; liberal to the poor.


LIBERAL'ITY, n. L. liberalitas. See Liberal.

1. Munificence; bounty.

That liberality is but cast away, which makes us borrow what we cannot pay.

2. A particular act of generosity; a donation; a gratuity. In this sense, it has the plural number. A prudent man is not impoverished by his liberalities.

3. Largeness of mind; catholicism; that comprehensiveness of mind which includes other interests beside its own, and duly estimates in its decisions the value or importance of each. It is evidence of a noble mind to judge of men and things with liberality.

Many treat the gospel with indifference under the name of liberality.

4. Candor; impartiality.


LIB'ERALIZE, v.t. To render liberal or catholic; to enlarge; to free from narrow views or prejudices; as, to liberalize the mind.


LIB'ERALIZED, pp. Freed from narrow views and prejudices; made liberal.


LIB'ERALIZING, ppr. Rendering liberal; divesting of narrow views and prejudices.



1. Bountifully; freely; largely; with munificence.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. James 1.

2. With generous and impartial regard to other interests than our own; with enlarged views; without selfishness or meanness; as, to think or judge liberally of men and their actions.

3. Freely; not strictly; not literally.


LIB'ERATE, v.t. L. libero, from liber, free.

1. To free; to release from restraint or bondage; to set at liberty; as, to liberate one from duress or imprisonment; to liberate the mind from the shackles of prejudice.

2. To manumit; as, to liberate a slave.


LIB'ERATED, pp. Freed; released from confinement, restraint or slavery; manumitted.


LIB'ERATING, ppr. Delivering from restraint or slavery.


LIBERA'TION, n. L. liberatio. The act of delivering from restraint, confinement or slavery.


LIB'ERATOR, n. One who liberates or delivers.