free (adj.)

Old English freo "exempt from; not in bondage, acting of one's own will," also "noble; joyful," from Proto-Germanic *friaz "beloved; not in bondage" (source also of Old Frisian fri, Old Saxon vri, Old High German vri, German frei, Dutch vrij, Gothic freis "free"), from PIE *priy-a- "dear, beloved," from root *pri- "to love."

The sense evolution from "to love" to "free" is perhaps from the terms "beloved" or "friend" being applied to the free members of one's clan (as opposed to slaves; compare Latin liberi, meaning both "free persons" and "children of a family"). For the older sense in Germanic, compare Gothic frijon "to love;" Old English freod "affection, friendship, peace," friga "love," friðu "peace;" Old Norse friðr "peace, personal security; love, friendship," German Friede "peace;" Old English freo "wife;" Old Norse Frigg, name of the wife of Odin, literally "beloved" or "loving;" Middle Low German vrien "to take to wife," Dutch vrijen, German freien "to woo."

Meaning "clear of obstruction" is from mid-13c.; sense of "unrestrained in movement" is from c. 1300; of animals, "loose, at liberty, wild," late 14c. Meaning "liberal, not parsimonious" is from c. 1300. Sense of "characterized by liberty of action or expression" is from 1630s; of art, etc., "not holding strictly to rule or form," from 1813. Of nations, "not subject to foreign rule or to despotism," recorded in English from late 14c. (Free world "non-communist nations" attested from 1950 on notion of "based on principles of civil liberty.") Sense of "given without cost" is 1580s, from notion of "free of cost."

Free even to the definition of freedom, "without any hindrance that does not arise out of his own constitution." [Emerson, "The American Scholar," 1837]

Free lunch, originally offered in bars to draw in customers, by 1850, American English. Free pass on railways, etc., attested by 1850. Free speech in Britain was used of a privilege in Parliament since the time of Henry VIII. In U.S., in reference to a civil right to expression, it became a prominent phrase in the debates over the Gag Rule (1836). Free enterprise recorded from 1832; free trade is from 1823; free market from 1630s. Free will is from early 13c. Free school is from late 15c. Free association in psychology is from 1899. Free love "sexual liberation" attested from 1822 (the doctrine itself is much older), American English. Free and easy "unrestrained" is from 1690s.

free (v.)

Old English freogan "to free, liberate, manumit," also "to love, think of lovingly, honor;" also "to rid (of something)," from freo "not in bondage" (see free (adj.)). The forking sense in the Germanic adjective is reflected in the verbs that grew from it in the daughter languages. Compare Old Frisian fria "to make free;" Old Saxon friohan "to court, woo;" German befreien "to free," freien "to woo;" Old Norse frja "to love;" Gothic frijon "to love." Related: Freed; freeing.

Definitions of free
free (v.)
grant freedom to; free from confinement;
Synonyms: liberate / release / unloose / unloosen / loose
free (v.)
relieve from;
Synonyms: rid / disembarrass
free (v.)
remove or force out from a position;
He finally could free the legs of the earthquake victim who was buried in the rubble
Synonyms: dislodge
free (v.)
grant relief or an exemption from a rule or requirement to;
Synonyms: exempt / relieve
free (v.)
make (information) available for publication;
Synonyms: release
free (v.)
free from obligations or duties;
Synonyms: discharge
free (v.)
free or remove obstruction from;
free a path across the cluttered floor
Synonyms: disengage
free (v.)
let off the hook;
Synonyms: absolve
free (v.)
part with a possession or right;
Synonyms: release / relinquish / resign / give up
free (v.)
release (gas or energy) as a result of a chemical reaction or physical decomposition;
Synonyms: release / liberate
free (v.)
make (assets) available;
Synonyms: unblock / unfreeze / release
free (adj.)
costing nothing;
free admission
Synonyms: complimentary / costless / gratis / gratuitous
free (adj.)
not limited or hampered; not under compulsion or restraint;
free of racism
a free choice
I have an hour free
a free port
a free country
free enterprise
free will
feel free to stay as long as you wish
free (adj.)
unconstrained or not chemically bound in a molecule or not fixed and capable of relatively unrestricted motion;
free oxygen
free expansion
a free electron
free (adj.)
not occupied or in use;
a free locker
a free lane
free (adj.)
not fixed in position;
he pulled his arm free and ran
Synonyms: detached
free (adj.)
not held in servitude;
after the Civil War he was a free man
free (adj.)
not taken up by scheduled activities;
a free hour between classes
Synonyms: spare
free (adj.)
completely wanting or lacking;
Synonyms: barren / destitute / devoid / innocent
free (adj.)
not literal;
a free translation of the poem
Synonyms: loose / liberal
free (n.)
people who are free;
the home of the free and the brave
Synonyms: free people
free (adv.)
without restraint;
Synonyms: loose