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Webster's Dictionary [1]

(1): ( a.) Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish; enlarged in spirit; catholic.

(2): ( n.) One who favors greater freedom in political or religious matters; an opponent of the established systems; a reformer; in English politics, a member of the Liberal party, so called. Cf. Whig.

(3): ( a.) Not bound by orthodox tenets or established forms in political or religious philosophy; independent in opinion; not conservative; friendly to great freedom in the constitution or administration of government; having tendency toward democratic or republican, as distinguished from monarchical or aristocratic, forms; as, liberal thinkers; liberal Christians; the Liberal party.

(4): ( a.) Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious.

(5): ( a.) Not strict or rigorous; not confined or restricted to the literal sense; free; as, a liberal translation of a classic, or a liberal construction of law or of language.

(6): ( a.) Bestowed in a large way; hence, more than sufficient; abundant; bountiful; ample; profuse; as, a liberal gift; a liberal discharge of matter or of water.

(7): ( a.) Bestowing in a large and noble way, as a freeman; generous; bounteous; open-handed; as, a liberal giver.

(8): ( a.) Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman; refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean; as, a liberal ancestry; a liberal spirit; liberal arts or studies.

King James Dictionary [2]

Lib'Eral, a. L. liberalis, from liber, free. See Libe.

1. Of a free heart free to give or bestow not close or contracted munificent bountiful generous giving largely as a liberal donor the liberal founders of a college or hospital. It expresses less than profuse or extravagant. 2. Generous ample large as a liberal donation a liberal allowance. 3. Not selfish, narrow on contracted catholic enlarged embracing other interests than one's own as liberal sentiments or views a liberal mind liberal policy. 4. General extensive embracing literature and the sciences generally as a liberal education. This phrase is often but not necessarily synonymous with collegiate as a collegiate education. 5. Free open candid as a liberal communication of thoughts. 6. Large profuse as a liberal discharge of matter by secretions or excretions. 7. Free not literal or strict as a liberal construction of law. 8. Not mean not low in birth or mind. 9. Licentious free to excess.

Liberal arts, as distinguished from mechanical arts, are such as depend more on the exertion of the mind than on the labor of the hands, and regard amusement, curiosity or intellectual improvement, rather than the necessity of subsistence, or manual skill. Such are grammar, rhetoric, painting, sculpture, architecture, music. &c.

Liberal has of before the thing bestowed, and to before the person or object on which any thing is bestowed as, to be liberal of praise or censure liberal to the poor.