• WordNet 3.6
    • n freethinker a person who believes that God created the universe and then abandoned it
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n 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. "Atheist is an old-fashioned word: I'm a freethinker , child."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n freethinker One who is not guided in the formation of his beliefs by obedience to authority, but submits the claims of authority to reason as the ultimate arbiter. The early application of the term was to those who occupied a rationalistic position in regard to current religious beliefs and dogmas; hence it acquired the still current sense of skeptic, infidel, and even atheist. The word, though employed earlier, is generally supposed to have been brought into common use in 1713 by the publication of Anthony Collins's “A Discourse of Freethinking, occasioned by the Rise and Growth of a Sect called Freethinkers,” Although this work defines free-thinking as the endeavor to judge a proposition according to the weight of evidence, and does not explicitly maintain any proposition which can offend a Protestant, it was rightly judged to be a covert attack upon fundamental tenets of the Christian religion. The free-thinkers specifically so called formed a class of deistical writers in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the chief of whom were Toland (died 1722), Anthony Collins (1676–1729), Woolston (1669–1733), Tindal (died 1733), and Bolingbroke (1678–1751). See deist.
    • n freethinker Synonyms Unbeliever, Skeptic, etc. See infidel.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Freethinker one who professes to be free from conventional authority in religion: a rationalist
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  • George Bernard Shaw
    “I was a freethinker before I knew how to think.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. freo; Ger. frei, Ice. frí.


In literature:

No, I wasn't; I was a Freethinker.
"The Promised Land" by Mary Antin
We freethinkers have no such court of appeal.
"True to his Colours" by Theodore P. Wilson
And then, if you only admitted Freethinkers among you I could understand it, but you admit anybody.
"The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Vol. 1 (of 8)" by Guy de Maupassant
Freethinker, the, a tale, 593.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844" by Various
Paul Bert, the great French Freethinker, died at Tonquin.
"Flowers of Freethought" by George W. Foote
The Freethinker takes nothing on trust, if he can help it; he dissects, analyses, and proves everything.
"Arrows of Freethought" by George W. Foote
Collins, the freethinker, met a plain countryman going to church.
"Life and Literature" by J. Purver Richardson
The Catholic of the most ultramontane stamp is there, as well as the Jew, the Protestant, and the freethinker.
"The Galaxy" by Various
He wrote in defence of Christianity in reply to Tindal, the Freethinker, and died in 1753.
"Old and New London" by Walter Thornbury
And yet Sprenger is a freethinker: he is sceptical about old receipts!
"La Sorcière: The Witch of the Middle Ages" by Jules Michelet

In news:

Secularism after Kurtz: A freethinker 's immortality.
Freethinker 's Forum: Atheism tests traditional tolerance.
Earlier, freethinkers drank in its speakeasies.
Atheists including Agnostics and other FreeThinking Americans are famously independent and leading them is often compared to herding cats.
Finding Mormon freethinkers was not an easy thing to do until I began reading Sunstone magazine, the bad boy of the Mormon world.
My colleague John F Hill wrote a story on how a veterans memorial proposed for Lake Elsinore's Diamond Stadium is now being opposed by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.
Atheists, secularists and freethinkers -- gather next week in.
Ocean Beach has a longstanding reputation as a tolerant, freethinking community.
Freethought Rhode Island is a show dedicated to discussing the views of atheists, skeptics and freethinkers.
Moscow is the city of billionaires, of bombast and grandiosity, but it is also home to an emerging generation of freethinking intellectuals, self-consciously cool bars.
Located just north of Seattle, Camp Quest Northwest is a summer camp for atheists or children of atheists, self-described "freethinkers" or people not traditionally religious.
Computing pioneer Vannevar Bush outlined the Web 's core idea - hyperlinked pages - in 1945, but the first person to try to build out the concept was a freethinker named Ted Nelson who envisioned his own scheme in 1965.