to give free rein

Click below to listen to the phrase.


Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to allow someone freedom

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

To give free rein means to give someone or something the freedom to do as they please with a project. They are given complete control.

It was reportedly first used in the 17th century and alludes to horseback riding.

French translation

donner carte blanche à quelqu’un

How NOT to translate : *donner les rênes libres


Examples in context

‘Owner’s story of her roaming rat

A rat-lover from Bury St Edmunds has made the ultimate tribute to one of her furry friends – by writing a book about her.

Elle Havis took in pet rat Matilda from a pet rescue centre around 18 months ago and let her have free rein around the house.

Her almost daily hunts for the roaming rodent were the inspiration behind her book, Where’s Matilda ?, which was illustrated by local artist Kieran Stotts-Everett.’

Bury Free Press, 11 November 2015


‘Schools making progress in nurturing creativity

Teachers are understandably expected to prepare pupils adequately for a major examination, though they may personally feel inclined towards giving pupils free rein in their writing.

However, schools could consider encouraging aspiring writers to write freely during the holidays and submit their creative writing efforts in the new term.
They could also consider setting up a writing club as part of co-curricular activities.’

The Straits Times, 11 November 2015


Everyday usage

I am so glad that my boss is giving me free rein for this project. I can be creative and make a difference !

Everyone has the ability to succeed, we are all given free rein of our lives.

John was so excited that his mother had given him free rein to name his new pet dog whatever he liked.

b) to speed up

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to make someone happy

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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