"act of setting free from restraint or confinement," early 15c., liberacion, from Old French libération and directly from Latin liberationem (nominative liberatio) "a setting or becoming free," noun of action from past-participle stem of liberare "to set free," from liber "free" (see liberal (adj.)).
Liberation theology (1969) translates Spanish teologia de la liberación, coined 1968 by Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez (b. 1928). In late 19c. British history, liberationism, liberationist are in reference to the movement to disestablish the Church, from the Liberation Society, devoted to the freeing of religion from state patronage and control.