also laissez faire, 1822, French, literally "let (people) do (as they think best)," from laissez, second person plural imperative of laisser "to let, to leave" (10c., from Latin laxare, from laxus "loose;" see lax) + faire "to do" (from Latin facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). From the phrase laissez faire et laissez passer, motto of certain 18c. French economists, chosen to express the ideal of government non-interference in business and industry. Compare laisser-faire "a letting alone," taken to mean "non-interference with individual freedom of action" as a policy in government and political economy.
updated on October 10, 2017