1US Originally: a person who rides a train, bus, etc., without having paid for it (when others have). Now chiefly: a person who, or organization which, benefits (or seeks to benefit) in some way from the effort of others, without making a similar contribution. Also attributive, in "free-rider problem". Compare "free-ride", "free-riding".
A person who participates in free-riding.
Early 19th century (in an earlier sense). From free + rider.