1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Licence
LICENCE (through the French from Lat. licentia, licere, to be lawful), permission, leave, liberty, hence an abuse of liberty, licentiousness; in particular, a formal authority to do some lawful act. Such authority may be either verbal or written; when written, the document containing the authority is called a “licence.” Many acts, lawful in themselves, are regulated by statutory authority, and licences must be obtained. For the sale of alcoholic liquor see Liquor Laws.