A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is a self-employed person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any particular employer. The term "freelance" was first coined by Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) in his well-known historical romance Ivanhoe to describe a "medieval mercenary warrior" (or "free-lance"). The phrase later transitioned to a figurative noun around the 1860s and was then officially recognized as a verb in 1903 by various authorities in etymology such as the Oxford English Dictionary. Only in modern times has the term morphed from a noun (a freelance) into an adjective (a freelance journalist), various verb forms (a journalist who freelances), and an adverb (she worked freelance), and then from the verb into the derived, now commonly used, noun form "freelancer."
The author and poet Ernest William Hornung (1866–1921) also used the term in "The Gift of the Emperor" to describe something of poor quality: "I warmed to my woes. It was no easy matter to keep your end up as a raw freelance of letters; for my part, I was afraid I wrote neither well enough nor ill enough for success."
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