free rotation (hindered rotation, restricted rotation)
In a stereochemical context the rotation about a bond is called 'free' when the rotational barrier is so low that different conformations are not perceptible as different chemical species on the time scale of the experiment. The inhibition of rotation of groups about a bond due to the presence of a sufficiently large rotational barrier to make the phenomenon observable on the time scale of the experiment is termed hindered rotation or restricted rotation.
PAC, 1996, 68, 2193. 'Basic terminology of stereochemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1996)' on page 2209 (