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Origin "at large"

Posted by R. Berg on April 11, 2001

In Reply to: Origin "at large" posted by Patrick Houlihan on April 10, 2001

: I know the various meanings of the phrase "at large," but I can't seem to find its origins. Any help?

An obsolete meaning of "large" as a noun is "freedom, liberty," now surviving only in the phrase 'at large" (Webster's unabridged, 1934).