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Licence vs. License — Which is Correct Spelling?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 21, 2024
"Licence" is the British spelling, while "license" is the correct American spelling for both noun and verb referring to authorization or freedom.
Licence vs. License — Which is Correct Spelling?

Which is correct: Licence or License

How to spell License?


Incorrect Spelling


Correct Spelling

Key Differences

In American English, "license" is used for both noun and verb.
Think of the 's' in "license" as in "States" for American English.
Practice writing "license" to familiarize yourself with the American version.
For U.S. documents or discussions, always opt for "license."
"Licence" is British and only a noun, while "license" is its verb counterpart.

How Do You Spell License Correctly?

Incorrect: He needs to renew his car licence next month.
Correct: He needs to renew his car license next month.
Incorrect: The restaurant applied for a liquor licence.
Correct: The restaurant applied for a liquor license.
Incorrect: It's illegal to operate a business without a proper licence.
Correct: It's illegal to operate a business without a proper license.
Incorrect: She passed the test and received her driving licence.
Correct: She passed the test and received her driving license.
Incorrect: The company holds a licence to produce medical devices.
Correct: The company holds a license to produce medical devices.

License Definitions

A document showing legal permission.
The shop needs a license to sell alcohol.
Granting rights, as in software.
This software comes with a single-user license.
To grant permission or rights.
The artist licensed his artwork for reproduction.
A license (American English) or licence (British English) is an official permission or permit to do, use, or own something (as well as the document of that permission or permit).A license is granted by a party to another party as an element of an agreement between those parties. In the case of a license issued by a government, the license is obtained by applying for it.
Official or legal permission to engage in a regulated activity
"He believed that the subcommittee gave him license to interrogate anyone about any possible links to communism" (Donald A. Ritchie).
A document, card, plate, or tag that is issued as proof of official or legal permission
A driver's license.
A contract allowing someone to use a proprietary product or service
Has a site license for that software.
Freedom of action or permission to act
"Doctors labeled many of the organs of the immune system 'functionless' ... giving surgeons license to remove them with abandon" (Andrew Weil).
Poetic license.
Lack of due restraint; excessive freedom
"It is important to preserve freedom only for people who are willing to practice self-denial, for otherwise freedom degenerates into license and irresponsibility" (Milton Friedman).
Heedlessness for the precepts of proper behavior, especially with regard to sex
"noir stories of the consequences of sexual license" (Foster Hirsch).
An excuse or justification to do something wrong
People who see low-fat labels as a license to eat larger amounts.
To give or yield permission to or for
"Deep down I wondered what licensed me to speak" (Jan Clausen).
To grant a license to or for; authorize.
A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.
The legal terms under which a person is allowed to use a product, especially software.
Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behaviour or speech).
Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint.
To authorize officially.
I am licensed to practice law in this state.
(transitive) (applied to a piece of intellectual property)
To give formal authorization to use.
It was decided to license Wikipedia under the GFDL.
To acquire authorization to use, usually in exchange for compensation.
The filmmakers licensed several iconic 80's songs for the soundtrack.
(transitive) To give permission or freedom to; accept.
To permit (as grammatically correct).
No English adverbs have mandatory complements, and most don't even license optional ones.
Authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act; especially, a formal permission from the proper authorities to perform certain acts or to carry on a certain business, which without such permission would be illegal; a grant of permission; as, a license to preach, to practice medicine, to sell gunpowder or intoxicating liquors.
To have a license and a leave at London to dwell.
The document granting such permission.
Excess of liberty; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum; disregard of law or propriety.
License they mean when they cry liberty.
That deviation from strict fact, form, or rule, in which an artist or writer indulges, assuming that it will be permitted for the sake of the advantage or effect gained; as, poetic license; grammatical license, etc.
To permit or authorize by license; to give license to; as, to license a man to preach.
A legal document giving official permission to do something
Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behavior or speech)
Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint;
When liberty becomes license dictatorship is near
The intolerable license with which the newspapers break...the rules of decorum
The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization
Authorize officially;
I am licensed to practice law in this state
A permit or authorization.
He has a driver's license.
Freedom to act as one wishes.
The vacation gave her the license to relax.

License Meaning in a Sentence

The software comes with a single-user license.
To sell food, your business needs a health department license.
She used her artistic license to reinterpret the classic story.
Before you can drive, you must obtain a driver's license.
The city requires all pets to have a license for identification.
Fishing in this lake requires a state-issued license.
Without a license, broadcasting music publicly is illegal.
The patent gives the company exclusive license to the technology.
The contractor showed us his license and insurance before starting work.
Applying for a marriage license is one of the steps to getting legally married.
The bar's liquor license was suspended due to violations.
He lost his license due to reckless driving.
Her therapist is board-certified and has a valid license to practice.
The new regulations affect license renewal procedures for healthcare professionals.
She decided to get a motorcycle license for her new hobby.
The restaurant's outdoor seating expansion required an additional license.
After years of study, he finally got his medical license.
You need a license to operate a drone for commercial purposes.
The license fee for the event venue is due next week.
The license plate was custom-made for their classic car.
Her license to teach in the state was approved after much paperwork.
The license agreement specifies the terms of software usage.
Owning a gun legally in the city requires a special license.
To import goods, your company will need a trade license.
Each commercial broadcast on the radio must have the proper license.

License Idioms & Phrases

License to do something

Permission or freedom to do something usually restricted.
Winning the championship gave the team a license to celebrate all night.

Artistic license

The freedom of artists to change conventional forms or facts to achieve a particular effect.
The painter used artistic license to enhance the colors of the landscape for a more dramatic effect.

Poetic license

The freedom to depart from the facts of a matter or from the conventional rules of language when creating art.
The author took poetic license with historical events for the sake of the story.

A license to print money

Refers to a very profitable business or product.
With its monopoly in the market, their latest invention was like a license to print money.

License to thrill

Refers to something or someone exceptionally exciting or entertaining.
The new movie is a license to thrill with its breathtaking action scenes.

Common Curiosities

Why is it called license?

It derives from Latin "licentia" meaning "freedom, liberty; absence of restraint."

What is the verb form of license?

"License" is also the verb form in American English.

What is the root word of license?

It comes from the Latin word "licentia."

What is the pronunciation of license?


Which vowel is used before license?

"A" as in "a license."

Which preposition is used with license?

"With" or "under" can be used, e.g., "with a license" or "under license."

Which conjunction is used with license?

Any conjunction can be used depending on the sentence structure.

Is license a vowel or consonant?

"License" is a word, which contains both vowels and consonants.

Is the license term a metaphor?

It can be used metaphorically, as in "poetic license."

What is the plural form of license?


Is license an adverb?


Is license a collective noun?


What part of speech is license?

It can be a noun or a verb.

What is another term for license?


What is the singular form of license?


Is license a countable noun?

Yes, e.g., "He has two licenses."

Is the word license a Gerund?


Which article is used with license?

Both "a" and "the" can be used.

Is license a noun or adjective?

License can be both a noun and a verb, but not an adjective.

Is license a negative or positive word?

Neutral, though context can change this.

How many syllables are in license?


How do we divide license into syllables?


Is license an abstract noun?

Yes, in contexts like "poetic license."

Is the word “license” a Direct object or an Indirect object?

It can be a direct object, e.g., "She obtained a license."

Which determiner is used with license?

Determiners like "this," "that," or "my" can be used.

What is the first form of license?

License (as a verb).

Is the word license imperative?


What is a stressed syllable in license?

The first syllable, "li."

What is the opposite of license?

Prohibition or restriction.

What is the second form of license?


What is the third form of license?


How is license used in a sentence?

"She applied for a marriage license at the city hall."

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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