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Legal Definition and Related Resources of License

Meaning of License

permission or authority . A license to do any particular thing is permission or authority to do that thing, and it transfers to grantee the right to do whatever right grantor can transfer to do that which is within the terms of the license. See federal Land Bank of Wichita v county Commissioners of Kiowa County, 368 U.S. 146, 82 S.Ct. 282,7 L.Ed.2d 199. At common law , mere license is always revocable, but a license that is coupled with an interest is not. A license to enter on the land that is connected with the grant of an interest in land is not revocable at will. Similarly, a license granted for consideration , such as a license (or ticket ) to enter. cinema house purchased by the patrons ' not revocable. Also, a license granted under a statute is not generally revocable except under the circumstances specified in the relevant statute.

License Alternative Definition

(Lat. licere, to permit). By Government. An authorization by the government to an individual to do certain acts, or carry on a certain business. Thus, marriage licenses, saloon keepers' licenses, pilots' licenses, etc. In Contracts. A permission; a right given by some competent authority to do an act which, without such authority, would be illegal. An authority to do a particular act or series of acts on another's land without possessing any estate therein. 11 Mass. 533; 4 Sands. Ch. (N. Y.) 72; 1 Washb. Real Prop. 148. The written evidence of the grant of such right. An executed license exists where the licensed act has been done. An executory license exists where the licensed act has not been performed. An express license is one which is granted in direct terms. An implied license is one which is presumed to have been given from the acts of the party authorized to give it. It is distinguished from an easement, which implies an interest in the land to be affected, and a lease, or right to take the profits of land. It may be, however, and often is, coupled with a grant of some interest in the land itself, or right to take the profits. 1 Washb. Real Prop. 148. A license may be by specialty (2 Pars. Cont. 22) ; by parol (13 Mees. & W. 838; 4 Maule & S. 562; 7 Barb. [N. Y.] 4; 1 Washb. Keal Prop. 148) ; or by implication from circumstances, as opening a door in response to a knock (Hob. 62; 2 Greenl. Ev. § 427). In International Law. Permission granted by a belligerent state to its own subjects, or to the subjects of the enemy, to carry on a trade interdicted by war. Wheaton. Int. Law, 475. In Patent Law. A right granted by a patentee to another to use or vend the patented article. In Pleading. A plea of justification to an action of trespass, that the defendant was authorized by the owner of the freehold to commit the trespass complained of. A license must be specially pleaded to an action of trespass (2 Term R. 166), but may be given in evidence in an action on the case (2 Mod. 6; 8 East, 308).

Synonyms of License


  • accordance
  • allowance
  • approbation
  • approval
  • assurance
  • authority
  • authorization
  • canation
  • certification
  • charter
  • clearance
  • confirmation
  • consent
  • copia
  • empowerment
  • endorsement
  • enfranchisement
  • entitlement
  • exception
  • fiat
  • formal permission
  • franchise
  • freedom
  • grant
  • imprimatur
  • leave
  • liberty
  • permission
  • permit
  • potestas
  • power
  • prerogative
  • privilege
  • right
  • sanction
  • special privilege
  • vouchsafement
  • warrant
  • written permission
  • Associated Concepts: assignment of a license
  • cancellation of license
  • easement
  • issuance of license
  • patent license
  • permanent license
  • renewal of a license
  • revocation of license
  • suspension of license

Related Entries of License in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for License in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

License in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for License in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing License in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Clearance, Dispensation, Fishery, Franchise, Lease, Licensee, Lost Grant, Tenant.

Translate Valid Driver's License from English to Spanish

Translation of Valid Driver's License , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Licencia de manejar/conducir vigente and other legal terms is available here.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
License in the Dictionary License in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of License
Legal Maxims Maxims are establis
hed principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics License in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of License is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of License (more about URIs)

License in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

French licence: Latin licentia, freedom to act: licere, to be left free, to be allowable. Permission or authority: as, a license to do a particular thing. 22 How. 240. See Permit. “A mere license passes no interest…only makes an action lawful, which, without it, would have been unlawful”. 3 Story 162 (1811); 1 Vaugh. 351 (1706). In popular understanding, a permission to do something which without the license would not be allowed. This is also the legal meaning. 32 Mich. 419 (1875). Evidence of permission to exercise a trade or calling in consequence of the payment of a tax or duty. 3 Wall. 443 (1865). A license issued under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1864, “to provide internal revenue”, conveys no authority to carry on the business within a State. The requirement of paying for such a license is only a mode of imposing taxes on the business. License Tax Cases, 5 Wall. 462 (1862). The power to license is a police power, although it may also be exercised for the purpose of raising revenue. 107 U.S. 373 (1882); 38 Ohio St. 225 (1882).

Note: This legal definition of License in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

License in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of license.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Work
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Concept of License in the context of Real Property

A short definition of License: A permission, either express or implied.

Concept of License in the context of Real Property

A short definition of License: A permission, either express or implied.

Meaning of License in the Past

An authority given by one of two belligerent parties, to the citizens or subjects of the other, to carry on a specified trade.


The effects of the license are to suspend or relax the rules of war to the extent of the authority given. It is the assumption of a state of peace to the extent of the license. In the country which grants them, licenses to carry on a pacific commerce are stricti juris, as being exceptions to the general rule; though they are not to be construed with pedantic accuracy, nor will every small deviation be held to vitiate the fair effect of them. 4 Rob. Rep. 8; Chitty, Law of Nat. 1 to 5 and 260; 1 Kent, Com. 164, 85.[1]


Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about license is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, including license.

See Also



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