A liberal is someone on the left wing of politics — the opposite of a conservative. Also, a liberal attitude toward anything means more tolerance for change.

There are many meanings for liberal, but they mostly have to do with freedom and openness to change. A teacher with a liberal policy toward attendance is going to be forgiving of missed days. A bank with a liberal attitude toward your money would probably be bad: some things are awful if they're loose and free. But no one will give you a hard time if you use a liberal amount of catsup on your fries.

Definitions of liberal
  1. adjective
    showing or characterized by broad-mindedness
    “a liberal newspaper”
    synonyms: broad, large-minded, tolerant
    inclined to respect views and beliefs that differ from your own
  2. adjective
    having political or social views favoring reform and progress
    of or belonging to the political or intellectual left
  3. adjective
    tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition
    having or showing active concern for protection of civil liberties protected by law
    having or demonstrating belief in the essential goodness of man and the autonomy of the individual; favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority
    having or showing belief in the need for economic growth in addition to traditional liberalistic values
    progressive, reform-minded, reformist
    favoring or promoting reform (often by government action)
    socialised, socialized
    under group or government control
    welfare-statist, welfarist
    of or relating to a welfare state
    of or belonging to the political or intellectual left
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    resistant to change
    pompously ultraconservative and nationalistic
    conservative in professional manner
    fusty, nonprogressive, standpat, unprogressive
    old-fashioned and out of date
    hidebound, traditionalist
    stubbornly conservative and narrow-minded
    extremely conservative
    mainstream, orthodox
    adhering to what is commonly accepted
    of or belonging to the political or intellectual right
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  4. noun
    a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties
    synonyms: liberalist, progressive
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    conservative, conservativist
    a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas
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    armchair liberal
    a person of liberal ideals who takes no action to realize them
    a person who is broad-minded and tolerant (especially in standards of religious belief and conduct)
    a liberal who subscribes to neoliberalism
    someone who believes that distinct ethnic or cultural or religious groups can exist together in society
    a member of the political party that urged social reform in 18th and 19th century England; was the opposition party to the Tories
    type of:
    adult, grownup
    a fully developed person from maturity onward
  5. noun
    a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets
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    type of:
    adult, grownup
    a fully developed person from maturity onward
  6. adjective
    given or giving freely
    “a liberal backer of the arts”
    synonyms: big, bighearted, bounteous, bountiful, freehanded, giving, handsome, openhanded
    willing to give and share unstintingly
  7. adjective
    not literal
    synonyms: free, loose
    not exact
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