I like the tag. It is concise and has a fun ring to it.

On the other hand, I wonder if would be more clear and specific.

I've noticed that many posters forget to add the appropriate tag when looking for free-of-cost software.

Which verbiage do others prefer?

Oh, and please no . That one never makes sense, but many people like to use it, I think because they buy into the hyper-repetitive marketing that beer is somehow 'cool'.

  • 2
    This has bugged me too, and sometimes I can't remember what the 'free stuff' tag is. I'd absolutely be in favor of synonymizing [free-of-cost] to [gratis], if not renaming it entirely.
    – user46
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 15:31
  • 1
    Related: Tags for free software and free software?
    – unor
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:48
  • Please note that the tag should only be added if it’s a requirement. It should not have been added here because the OP only prefers (instead of requires) it to be gratis, and it should not have been added here or here because the OP (well, me) required it to be FLOSS, not (necessarily) gratis FLOSS.
    – unor
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 19:26
  • I just created a separate topic regarding preferences vs. requirements. Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 19:36
  • "Free as in beer" is in contrast to "free as in freedom". It's the opposite of being "because it's cool": to me it rings "it's less serious than freedom and only as serious as a free beer".
    – Nemo
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 18:27
  • @Nemo I like that! Great explanation. Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Gratis is a legitimate English word. Let's expand everyone's vocabulary a little bit and keep the tag as-is. I think a one word tag is better than a three word tag anytime.

If you want to get technical, gratis doesn't mean exactly the same as "free of cost." It really means available without charge. The software might not cost you anything, but it does cost someone something (at the very least, the developer's time), so it is not exactly "free of cost."

If you want to create as a synonym of gratis, that's okay, but let's keep as the real tag.

  • I like gratis too. It's concise and has a fun nuance to it. But I've noticed many users don't use it, likely because they are looking for something that begins with the letter 'f', not 'g'. In the end, as much as I like 'gratis', I'm not sure if it's better to expand people's vocabulary or to allow users to create posts with appropriate tags. The technical difference between the two terms is moot. One could similarly postulate that using free-of-cost software is a form of payment, as the author likely receives emotional and ego benefit from having people use his/her creation. Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 21:02
  • Out of curiosity, do you have a link describing 'synonym' tags, and how they work? Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 21:03
  • @RockPaperLizard See What are tag synonyms? on Meta.SE.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 0:24
  • Thank you for the link Ben! Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 8:16
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    @RockPaperLizard Gratis is the best word IMO. It is used often in the context of being generous when someone else is offering you a product or service. The word free is acceptable to me, but the word is contextually more complex and does not have the specific meaning and connotations that gratis does. Perhaps we should pose this question to English Usage on stackexchange and see if we can reach a consensus.
    – Sun
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 21:27
  • I am all in favor of gratis. I also think "free-of-cost" should be added as synonym. Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 8:07
  • Funny, I knew that gratis is a Dutch word (means the same as the English word), but I didn't know that it's also an English word until now. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary. (oh, and I'm also in favor of gratis)
    – nidunc
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 16:42
  • [Free] is a lot easier to search for the uninitiated. Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 16:32

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