Mark, you may just have to bite the bullet and admit that YOU have felt misled by the term "free market" and assume that others have as well, but that the term does not mean what you want to insist upon.
I'm not saying you're wrong in feeling misled, or even in assuming masses of others have been misled. But there comes a time when a phrase has entered common parlance and won't really care if you were misled. There comes a time when you have to accept the definition and help others you perceive as stuck by the term understand how it's being used and roll with it.
I get this because I refused to use the term "negative numbers" for several years. Even after I understood how the term was being used (misused!) in mathematics, I was all rebellious and irked that those math people had been so sloppy with their nomenclature. Weird, but, guess what? The mathematicians don't care that I'm irked by their sloppy names. The field of inquiry moves on whether I want to accept the evolving definition or not. I chose to roll with the sloppy definition because I want to proceed with my understanding of theoretical math. Okay, it took awhile, but eventually my desire for progress overcame my rebellion about terms.
I gave you the working definition of "free market" early on, and I see many more posters have supplied it. You can quibble about nomenclature, but chances are you're not going to change it. You can accept the common definition so that you can communicate about economics with folks who speak this language. Or you can keep sniping about how you don't like the phrase and think language should change to suit you.
Like I said, I understand this rebellious stage. I can only advise that you make short shift of it because it will get you nowhere and waste your time.
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