liberty


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Give me liberty, or give me death!

A set phrase indicating stark and unyielding refusal to submit to authoritarian measures or domination. The phrase is attributed to American politician Patrick Henry (1736–1799) from a speech he made to the Virginia Convention in 1775, calling for Virginian troops to assist in the Revolutionary War. Any number of alternative nouns can be used in place of "liberty" as a means of humorously or hyperbolically highlighting one's extreme reluctance to part with it. The government thinks it can censor our media, monitor our communications, and tax us to starvation without us putting up a fight. Well, I say to them, give me liberty, or give me death! Give me bacon or give me death!
See also: give

take the liberty to do (something)

To do something without first seeking out or asking for someone's permission. I took the liberty to print out some financial reports ahead of today's meeting. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty to tell your husband you'd be late for dinner.
See also: liberty, take

at liberty

Freely able to do something. I know you're curious about the case, but I'm not at liberty to talk about it.
See also: liberty

take the liberty of (doing something)

To do something without first seeking out or asking someone's permission. I thought I'd take the liberty of printing out some financial reports ahead of today's meeting so we would all be on the same page. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of telling your husband you'd be late for dinner.
See also: liberty, of, take

take liberties

1. To act disrespectfully or inappropriately. You're too friendly with your subordinates—that's why they take liberties with you. If he tries to take liberties with you, leave immediately.
2. To alter something (especially by making it inaccurate or untrue) in order to benefit from it or accommodate one's own needs or interests. I didn't slander you—the paper took liberties with what I said.
See also: liberty, take

take liberties with (someone or something)

1. To act disrespectfully or inappropriately. You're too friendly with your subordinates—that's why they take liberties with you. If he tries to take liberties with you, leave immediately.
2. To alter something (especially by making it inaccurate or untrue) in order to benefit from it or accommodate one's own needs or interests. I didn't slander you—the paper took liberties with what I said.
See also: liberty, take

at liberty

free; unrestrained. The criminal was set at liberty by the judge. You're at liberty to go anywhere you wish. I'm not at liberty to discuss the matter.
See also: liberty

take liberties with someone or something

 and make free with someone or something
to freely use or abuse someone or something. You are overly familiar with me, Mr. Jones. One might think you were taking liberties with me. I don't like it when you make free with my lawn mower. You should at least ask when you want to borrow it.
See also: liberty, take

take the liberty of doing something

to do something for someone voluntarily; to do something slightly personal for someone that would be more appropriate if one knew the person better. (Often used as an overly polite exaggeration in a request.) Do you mind if I take the liberty of flicking a bit of lint off your collar? May I take the liberty of removing your coat? I took the liberty of ordering an entree for you. I hope you don't mind.
See also: liberty, of, take

at liberty

Free, not obligated; also, not occupied. For example, I am not at liberty to tell you the whole story, or " I ... washed when there was a basin at liberty" (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847). This idiom is often used in a negative context, as in the first example. [First half of 1800s]
See also: liberty

take liberties

1. Behave improperly or disrespectfully; also, make unwanted sexual advances. For example, He doesn't allow staff members to take liberties, such as calling clients by their first names , or She decided that if Jack tried to take liberties with her she would go straight home. This idiom uses liberties in the sense of "an overstepping of propriety," and thus differs markedly from take the liberty of. [c. 1700]
2. Make a statement or take an action not warranted by the facts or circumstances, as in Their book takes liberties with the historical record.
See also: liberty, take

take the liberty of

Act on one's own authority without permission from another, as in I took the liberty of forwarding the mail to his summer address. It is also put as take the liberty to, as in He took the liberty to address the Governor by her first name. This rather formal locution was first recorded in 1625 and does not imply the opprobrium of the similar-sounding take liberties.
See also: liberty, of, take

take liberties

1 behave in an unduly familiar manner towards a person. 2 treat something freely, without strict faithfulness to the facts or to an original.
See also: liberty, take

take the liberty

venture to do something without first asking permission.
See also: liberty, take

take ˈliberties (with somebody/something)

be more free with somebody/something than you should be: The translator has taken too many liberties with this. The original meaning is lost.He uses our phone without asking, which I think is taking liberties.
See also: liberty, take

at ˈliberty (to do something)

(formal) having permission to do something: You are at liberty to leave, if you wish.
See also: liberty

take the liberty of doing something

(formal) do something without permission: I have taken the liberty of giving your address to a friend who is visiting London. I hope you don’t mind.
See also: liberty, of, something, take

at liberty

1. Not in confinement or under constraint; free.
2. Entitled or permitted to do something: We found ourselves at liberty to explore the grounds.
See also: liberty

take the liberty

To dare (to do something) on one's own initiative or without asking permission: I took the liberty to send you these pictures of my vacation.
See also: liberty, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Finally, Bush's Fourth of July rhetoric about liberty rings rather hollow.
not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.
Liberty management issued a press release after the kiss-in: "The New York Liberty enjoys a relationship with our fan base that is the envy of the WNBA," the statement read.
In Boston, where the first Liberty Tree once stood, a crowd of 250 gathered for the annual Liberty Tree Day celebration, which featured period reenactments of events that might have taken place under the tree's limbs in 1765.
Of the total amount, up to $800 million may be issued for retail development in the Liberty Zone, up to $1.
2) Even if every American agrees on the importance of balance, does it not make a great deal of difference where the balance point is; that is, how much liberty is needed to counterbalance equality, how much of the personal to offset the communal?
Bolick rightly laments the infamous 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the Slaughter House cases (1873), which emasculated the 14th Amendment's Privileges and Immunities Clause, clearly intended to make the national government the protector of individual liberty of all citizens.
UTEK is pleased to consummate this technology transfer with Liberty Diversified Holdings, Inc.
In describing the Liberty Tree guitar, an article in Taylor Guitars' magazine Wood&Steel says its "materials alone make it the most significant instrument we've ever created.
Despite the passage of more than a century--as well as the sweat, tears, and triumphs of grass-roots feminist activism--nineteenth-century modalities of liberty still linger into our modern age.
Liberty will spend the next few months identifying potential locations for its new office.
But to collect any Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) they may qualify for, workers must file an income tax return according to officials from Liberty Tax Service.
Liberty Tax Service today announced the acquisition of eSmartTax, the Internet income tax preparation business of San Jose, California-based C&S Technologies.