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Compilation of Definitions and Descriptions

The terms Freethinker and Freethought have had somewhat differing interpretations over time. Even today, the definitions & descriptions vary to a degree- the themes of independent thought and rejection of dogma are the constants:

freethinker - One who forms opinions independently, esp. of authority of revelation or church; hence, an agnostic. See FREE THOUGHT. (Webster's Second International Dictionary, second edition.)

freethinker - A person who forms opinions about religion, politics, morals, etc., independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. -Syn. Atheist. (Webster's New World College Dictionary, fourth edition © 2000.)

freethinker - 1692. One who refuses to submit his reason to the control of authority in matters of religious belief; a designation claimed esp. by the deistic and other rejectors of Christianity in the early 18th c. Also transf. So Freethinking vbl. sb. the principles or practice of free-thinker; ppl. a. holding the principles of a free-thinker; pertaining to free-thinker or free-thought. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

freethinker – a person who evaluates religious belief systems solely on the basis of reason, rather than on dogma, tradition, faith or authority. The term freethought movement is often used to describe the full spectrum of nontheism. (as defined by Religion Link, 2010)

freethinker - a person who has formed their opinions using reason and rational enquiry; somebody who has rejected dogma, especially with regard to religion (Wiktionary, 2010)

freethinking (adj.) - inclined to forms one's own opinions rather than depend upon authority, especially about social and religious issues; exhibiting boldness of speculation; skeptical of authority. (

freethinker - one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma. (Merriam-Webster online)

freethinker - a person who forms opinions about religion, politics, morals, etc., independently of tradition, authority, or established belief (

freethinker - One who speculates or forms opinions independently of the authority of others; esp., in the sphere or religion, one who forms opinions independently of the authority of revelation or of the church; an unbeliever; a term assumed by deists and skeptics in the eighteenth century. (Webster's, 1913)

freethinker - someone who forms their own opinions and beliefs, especially about religion or politics, rather than just accepting what is officially or commonly believed and taught (Cambridge Dictionary)

freethought - thought unrestrained by deference to authority, tradition, or established belief, esp. in matters of religion. (

free thought - unorthodox attitudes or beliefs; specifically : 18th century deism (Merriam-Webster online)

free thought - Thought that rejects authority and dogma, especially in religion; freethinking. (

freethought - a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any dogma. The cognitive application of freethought is known as freethinking, and practitioners of freethought are known as freethinkers. (Wikipedia)



The following definitions come from Webster's Second International Dictionary, second edition.

Free - the definition goes on for a half page and it is small type. The first definition under the heading "Having liberty; not in bondage." is, not subject to an arbitrary external power or authority.

The second heading, "Uncontrolled; unrestrained" the first definition is, not subject to some particular authority or obligation.

Thought 1. Act or process of thinking; mental concentration on ideas as distinguished from sense perception or emotions; cogitation; as engaged in thought; your remarks stimulate thought. 2. The function or power of thinking, esp. of judging and reasoning; as, man is endowed with thought. 3. The power to conceive or realize; conception; imagination; as, a beauty beyond thought.

Combine these two definitions and you get:

The function or power of thinking which is not subject to some particular authority or obligation.


Definitions of freethinker or free thinker found in the Urban Dictionary:

free thinker - Generally, an elitist misanthrope who is infatuated with his pretense of learning:

Jane: I am a free thinker!
John: You get what you pay for.

free thinker - A social group of lefties who claim to be intelligent because they bitch about religion, current governments, oil, iraq and anything else while not contributing any ideas to solve these 'problems' other than total elimination and turning the human race into mindless drones. Usually a feminist or hit by their girlfriend, which they call 'dominant female life partner'.

Mesa called jar jar binks. Oh yea, free finkers do not like movies, but fully support ridiculous litigation.

freethinker - A philosophical viewpoint that opinions or beliefs of reality should be based on science, logic and reason. Ideas should not be derived from religion, authority, governments or dogmas.

A free thinker should not reject nor accept any proposed truths of organized religion, established norms, media, etc. They should determine if the belief is valid based on their own knowledge, intuition, research and reason. Just because other people believe in it, doesn't mean it's right! Use your own judgment and think critically!

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Cleveland Freethinkers Mission Statement March 17, 2012 2:35 AM Mark T.
Compilation of Definitions and Descriptions October 3, 2010 6:07 PM Mark T.
About The Cleveland Freethinkers September 26, 2014 6:50 PM Marni H.

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