From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Liberal \Lib"er*al\ (l[i^]b"[~e]r*al), a. [F. lib['e]ral, L.
   liberalis, from liber free; perh. akin to libet, lubet, it
   pleases, E. lief. Cf. Deliver.]
   1. Free by birth; hence, befitting a freeman or gentleman;
      refined; noble; independent; free; not servile or mean;
      as, a liberal ancestry; a liberal spirit; liberal arts or
      studies. " Liberal education." --Macaulay. " A liberal
      tongue." --Shak.
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   2. Bestowing in a large and noble way, as a freeman;
      generous; bounteous; open-handed; as, a liberal giver. "
      Liberal of praise." --Bacon.
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            Infinitely good, and of his good
            As liberal and free as infinite.      --Milton.
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   3. Bestowed in a large way; hence, more than sufficient;
      abundant; bountiful; ample; profuse; as, a liberal gift; a
      liberal discharge of matter or of water.
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            His wealth doth warrant a liberal dower. --Shak.
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   4. Not strict or rigorous; not confined or restricted to the
      literal sense; free; as, a liberal translation of a
      classic, or a liberal construction of law or of language.
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   5. Not narrow or contracted in mind; not selfish; enlarged in
      spirit; catholic.
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   6. Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint;
      licentious. " Most like a liberal villain." --Shak.
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   7. Not bound by orthodox tenets or established forms in
      political or religious philosophy; independent in opinion;
      not conservative; friendly to great freedom in the
      constitution or administration of government; having
      tendency toward democratic or republican, as distinguished
      from monarchical or aristocratic, forms; as, liberal
      thinkers; liberal Christians; the Liberal party.
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            I confess I see nothing liberal in this " order of
            thoughts," as Hobbes elsewhere expresses it.
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   Note: Liberal has of, sometimes with, before the thing
         bestowed, in before a word signifying action, and to
         before a person or object on which anything is
         bestowed; as, to be liberal of praise or censure;
         liberal with money; liberal in giving; liberal to the
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   The liberal arts. See under Art.

   Liberal education, education that enlarges and disciplines
      the mind and makes it master of its own powers,
      irrespective of the particular business or profession one
      may follow.
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   Syn: Generous; bountiful; munificent; beneficent; ample;
        large; profuse; free.

   Usage: Liberal, Generous. Liberal is freeborn, and
          generous is highborn. The former is opposed to the
          ordinary feelings of a servile state, and implies
          largeness of spirit in giving, judging, acting, etc.
          The latter expresses that nobleness of soul which is
          peculiarly appropriate to those of high rank, -- a
          spirit that goes out of self, and finds its enjoyment
          in consulting the feelings and happiness of others.
          Generosity is measured by the extent of the sacrifices
          it makes; liberality, by the warmth of feeling which
          it manifests.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Liberal \Lib"er*al\, n.
   One who favors greater freedom in political or religious
   matters; an opponent of the established systems; a reformer;
   in English politics, a member of the Liberal party, so
   called. Cf. Whig.
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