free rider

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See also: freerider


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free rider (plural free riders)

  1. Someone who obtains goods or services legally without paying.
    The store failed because all of the manager's friends were free riders who drove paying customers away.
  2. (economics) One who obtains benefit from a public good without paying for it directly.
    A lighthouse is the classic example of a public good because it is difficult to prevent a ship (a free rider) from using it.
  3. (industrial relations) A worker at an open shop who is able to enjoy the benefits negotiated by a union without being a member of the union.


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  • free rider” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • free rider at OneLook Dictionary Search