Lib"er*al (?), a. [F. lib'eral, L. liberalis, from liber free; perh. akin to libet, lubet,it pleases, E. lief. Cf. Deliver.]
Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman; refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean; as, a liberal ancestry; a liberal spirit; liberal arts or studies.
. " A liberal
Bestowing in a large and noble way, as a freeman; generous; bounteous; open-handed; as, a liberal giver.
Infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite.
Bestowed in a large way; hence, more than sufficient; abundant; bountiful; ample; profuse; as, a liberal gift; a liberal discharge of matter or of water.
His wealth doth warrant a liberal dower.
Not strict or rigorous; not confined or restricted to the literal sense; free; as, a liberal translation of a classic, or a liberal construction of law or of language.
Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish; enlarged in spirit; catholic.
Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious.
" Most like a liberal
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; as, liberal thinkers; liberal Christians; the Liberal party.
I confess I see nothing liberal in this " order of thoughts," as Hobbes elsewhere expresses it.
Liberal has of, sometimes with, before the thing bestowed, in before a word signifying action, and to before a person or object on which anything is bestowed; as, to be liberal of praise or censure; liberal with money; liberal in giving; liberal to the poor.
The liberal arts. See under Art. -- Liberal education, education that enlarges and disciplines the mind and makes it master of its own powers, irrespective of the particular business or profession one may follow.
Syn. -- Generous; bountiful; munificent; beneficent; ample; large; profuse; free. -- Liberal, Generous. Liberal is freeborn, and generous is highborn. The former is opposed to the ordinary feelings of a servile state, and implies largeness of spirit in giving, judging, acting, etc. The latter expresses that nobleness of soul which is peculiarly appropriate to those of high rank, -- a spirit that goes out of self, and finds its enjoyment in consulting the feelings and happiness of others. Generosity is measured by the extent of the sacrifices it makes; liberality, by the warmth of feeling which it manifests.
© Webster 1913.
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.
© Webster 1913.