Okay you students of Spanish. Your first assignment is to translate the title "Wikipedia – the free dictionary". No cheating!
You are given two choices
- Wikipedia – el diccionario libre
- Wikipedia – el diccionario gratis
You choose #2 – "BING BING ZAP" You are right, but that is not what the translators of Wikipedia did. They chose #1 They are calling it Wikipedia – el diccionario libre
So what is the difference between Libre and Gratis. They both mean free. When we say Wikipedia – the free dictionary, we are referring to something with no monetary value, free of charge. In other words, it doesn't cost anything to use Wikipedia That is the definition for gratis. El libro no cuesta nada, es gratis. The book doesn't cost anything, it is free.
Libre, on the other hand, is the opposite of being a slave, or a free people. Or, you are free to do what you want – the act of not being constrained. This is certainly not the meaning of "free" in Wikipedia – the free dictionary
So – How much would you trust a dictionary when they can't even translate the title correctly?