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Word of the Week: License

li·​cense | /ˈlīs(ə)ns/

Definition of License

Noun (ˈlīs(ə)ns)

  1. Documentation giving consent to perform an action or use an item
  2. Permission given by content creator for freedom of use
  3. Justification to misbehave or act in an outlandish manner

Verb (ˈlīs(ə)ns)

  1. Grant authorization to proceed with an action
  2. Give a permit for a task or activity

Usage of License


  1. Upon turning 16, Alicia immediately applied for her driver’s license.
  2. The Fair-Use law gives others the license to commentate on copywritten content.
  3. Neglecting to assign a supervisor, the employees felt they had the license to revolt.


  1. The town clerk licensed the use of the community center to the adult rec league.
  2. The new baseballs have been licensed by the Independent Baseball Association.

Origin of License

The word license was first used as a noun in the 14th century and as a verb in the 15th century. The word is Middle English and is derived from the Anglo-French word licence which means “freedom” or “permission.” The Anglo-French term came from the Latin licentia.

It’s most original meaning was quite literal in that it meant “to formally grant permission for a given activity” such as hunting or getting married. Later during the 15th century, it took on a more figurative meaning such as “excessive allowance” or the idea of acting with no regard to the limitations or confines of the rules.