January 08, 2019
ad lib (adverb)
\AD-LIB\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: without restraint or limit
How do you use it?
Tom can be a very talkative person, and sometimes he will talk on and on ad lib without pausing for even a second!
Are you a word wiz?

If "ad lib" looks funny to you, it's probably because it was borrowed from another language. Which one do you think that was?

"Ad lib" is a shortened form of the Latin phrase "ad libitum," which means "to [his or her] liking." In the olden days, a person who talked "ad libitum" talked as long as he or she wanted, without any set time limit to finish a speech or presentation. "Ad lib" has another meaning that fits well with the Latin too: "according to one's wishes." Musicians and actors use that meaning when they play or act "ad lib" (that is, when they make up a tune or part any way they like as they go along).
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