What does freemium mean?

Free with optional purchases

A freemium game, app, or service is one that is available free of charge but encourages users to make optional, upgrading purchases. Because these "free" products include "premium" features available to only those who purchase them, the products have been labeled "freemium."

For example, the online photo editor Pixlr provides all users with a free, basic version that allows them to edit and save images. However, Pixlr's free version shows ads and forces users to wait 7 seconds after saving an image before they can resume editing. Users who don't want to see ads or wait after saving an image can purchase Pixlr's Premium subscription, which removes these obstructions and provides access to other paid-only features.

Free-to-play (F2P) video games might be the most notable example of freemium products. While many of these games are truly free-to-play and make money by selling optional cosmetic items (such as stickers, props, skins, and clothing), others are "free" in name only. Malicious game developers and companies often release freemium games that are nearly impossible to progress through without making many in-game purchases. These sorts of freemium games are labeled "pay-to-win."


MailChimp is one of my favorite freemium services. It really helped me out when I was starting my business

Some (but definitely not all) freemium apps are predatory

Related Slang


Updated November 18, 2020

Freemium definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Freemium" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

We are constantly updating our database with new slang terms, acronyms, and abbreviations. If you would like to suggest a term or an update to an existing one, please let us know!