liberty

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Related to liberties: civil liberties, take liberties

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. You're too friendly with your subordinates—that's why they take liberties with you.
2. To alter something in order to benefit from it or accommodate one's own needs or interests. Of course I didn't slander you; the paper simply took liberties with what I said.
See also: liberty, take

take liberties with (someone or something)

1. To act disrespectfully. You're too friendly with your subordinates—that's why they take liberties with you.
2. To alter something in order to benefit from it or accommodate one's own needs or interests. Of course I didn't slander you; the paper simply 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 ?
A number of insights about people's views on civil liberties and homeland security emerged from this combination of public deliberations, focus groups and national public opinion data.
This simple but representative message was what a participant in Iowa wanted delivered to policymakers from the League's national community dialogue project, Local Voices: Citizen Conversations on Civil Liberties and Secure Communities.
While polling reveals a lack of public knowledge about homeland security efforts, the research shows a strong public commitment to civil liberties and freedoms.
Polling indicates a majority of Americans do not consider their civil liberties to be currently under threat.
As discussed below under "Value of Public Deliberations," people's opinions move during the process of thoughtful in-depth discussions of homeland security and civil liberties.
As tradeoffs in the name of security were discussed, participants wondered what additional policies might be coming next that could infringe on civil liberties.
As people interacted in the focus groups and public deliberations, many felt they knew too little about the issues to evaluate what government is doing to strike a balance between security and civil liberties.
These insights from the focus groups and public deliberations indicate that national surveys and polling data may not tell the whole story of public opinion when it comes to homeland security and civil liberties issues.
State governments should respect the liberties of their citizens and protect them against federal intrusion.
This is the president who is working hard to diminish every person's right not to be compelled to support religious institutions financially, to weaken the right of women to reproductive choice, to diminish civil liberties, and to pack the federal courts with judges less than optimally committed to upholding the rights of the people.