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MAKE SOMEONE FREE OF SOMETHING

Posted by Yuri on January 11, 2007

Dear experts,

According to the Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs by R. Courtney, MAKE SOMEONE FREE OF SOMETHING can be used to mean 'give smb. the right or permission to use smth. that belongs to another person, as in:

They were made free of his house and garden; they visited him in the evenings for lessons and advice.

His uncle, a clergyman named Thomas Hill, was almost a father to him; and his half-aunt, Miss Tyler, made him free of her house till his own eccentricities, and her wrath at his marriage, drove him out.

The phrase doesn't seem to make sense to speakers of American English. Would you say this usage is strictly British?

Thank you,
Yuri