If you’re learning American English, you should know “there is no free lunch” — or that nothing comes for free.

But with a little effort and the right attitude, you might be able to strike a bargain and correctly use these five expressions with the word “free”:

Free fall


What it means: A fast and continuing drop, decline or failure (of value or prestige, for example) that seems endless.
In conversation: “The economy was in free fall last year. Inflation soared, and the currency collapsed.”

Home free

What it means: Certain of succeeding, especially because the most difficult part of something is finished; no longer in danger of failing.
In conversation: “Once I take my biology exam, I’ll be home free. That is my hardest subject and my last exam of the semester.”

(As) free as a bird

(© AP Images)

What it means: Completely free to do what you want, without any worries.
In conversation: “She won the lottery. Now she’s traveling the world, free as a bird!”


What it means: Something given to someone without expecting anything in return.
In conversation: “At the conference, the company gave out pens, notebooks and other small freebies.”

To freeload (off someone)


What it means: To get or ask for things (such as food, money or a place to live) from people without paying for them; to mooch.
In conversation: “He’s 45, but he still freeloads off his parents.”

Learn more

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