loose

adjective
\ ˈlüs How to pronounce loose (audio) \
looser; loosest

Definition of loose

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : not rigidly fastened or securely attached loose planks in a bridge
b(1) : having worked partly free from attachments a loose tooth
(2) : having relative freedom of movement
c : produced freely and accompanied by raising of mucus a loose cough
d : not tight-fitting loose clothing
2a : free from a state of confinement, restraint, or obligation a lion loose in the streets spend loose funds wisely
b : not brought together in a bundle, container, or binding
c archaic : disconnected, detached
3a : not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement loose soil
b : not solid : watery loose stools
4a : lacking in restraint or power of restraint a loose tongue
b : lacking moral restraint : unchaste
c : overactive specifically : marked by frequent voiding especially of watery stools loose bowels
5a : not tightly drawn or stretched : slack a loose belt
b : being flexible or relaxed stay loose
6a : lacking in precision, exactness, or care loose brushwork loose usage
b : permitting freedom of interpretation a loose construction of the Constitution
7 : not in the possession of either of two competing teams a loose ball a loose puck

loose

verb
\ ˈlüs How to pronounce loose (audio) \
loosed; loosing

Definition of loose (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to let loose (see loose entry 1) : release loosed the dogs on the prowlers
b : to free from restraint
2 : to make loose : untie loose a knot
3 : to cast loose : detach loosed the boat from its moorings— George Eliot
4 : to let fly : discharge loosed a hail of bullets
5 : to make less rigid, tight, or strict : relax loosed his grip

intransitive verb

: to let fly a missile (such as an arrow) : fire

loose

adverb
\ ˈlüs How to pronounce loose (audio) \

Definition of loose (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a loose manner (see loose entry 1) : loosely

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Other Words from loose

Adjective

loosely adverb
looseness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for loose

Synonyms: Adjective

insecure, lax, loosened, relaxed, slack, slackened, unsecured

Synonyms: Verb

blast, discharge, fire, shoot, squeeze off

Antonyms: Adjective

taut, tense, tight

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Examples of loose in a Sentence

Adjective

Some of the shingles on the roof were loose. The rope was tied in a loose knot. The nails had been pried loose. Some of the shingles had come loose. The boat came loose from its moorings and floated out into the harbor. The ball popped loose from the shortstop's glove. loose reins on a horse She was wearing a loose dress. The dog was wandering loose in the streets.

Verb

The soldiers loosed a volley of rifle fire. the archers loosed a great volley of arrows at the foot soldiers charging towards them
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Wear loose, lightweight clothing that is on the lighter side. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Heat Waves Work (and Why They're Getting Worse)," 30 Aug. 2019 Authorities said Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, was arrested after police warned of a dangerous gunman on the loose upon finding the bodies Tuesday morning at a home in Keeling. Skip Foreman, BostonGlobe.com, "Virginia man charged with murdering the family of a Rays prospect," 28 Aug. 2019 Authorities said Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, was arrested after police warned of a dangerous gunman on the loose upon finding the bodies Tuesday morning at a home in Keeling. chicagotribune.com, "The wife, toddler son and mother-in-law of minor league baseball player Blake Bivens is slain in Virginia; brother-in-law, 18, charged.," 28 Aug. 2019 Johnson’s infectious moves made the touchdown celebration part of the game, inspiring generations of players to let loose in the end zone, as well as after sacks and other big plays. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 Getty Images Gigi wore her hair in loose waves with a deep side-part and glossy texture. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Bella and Gigi Hadid Are Blonde Hair Twins at the 2019 VMAs," 27 Aug. 2019 The three suspects got away and remain on the loose. Harry Harris, The Mercury News, "Oakland: Man who had laptop swiped in Peet’s Coffee dragged by getaway vehicle," 23 Aug. 2019 Imagine that: Randy Guzek and Billy Lee Oatney, once again on the loose, making up for lost time. oregonlive.com, "The back-alley mugging of the death penalty: Steve Duin," 16 Aug. 2019 It's been a tale of two escaped zebras in the southern Texas city of New Braunfels, with one recaptured but another still on the loose as of early Thursday, reports CBS Austin affiliate KEYE-TV. CBS News, "One escaped zebra caught but another still elusive outside San Antonio," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Suddenly, opposition was loosed with a near-Biblical vengeance. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I confess': should the ‘seal of the confessional’ protect pedophiles?," 4 Aug. 2019 Another way is this: The post-liberal project seeks to cage the furies loosed by Donald Trump and put them at the service of an intellectually coherent movement without the baggage of a leader accused by multiple women of rape. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Is Josh Hawley For Real?," 25 July 2019 Emma delivers a passionless, matter-of-fact speech about how Monarch's monsters must be loosed and allowed to wipe out major metropolitan centers, because the radiation spewed by the monsters is... ecologically restorative? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," 31 May 2019 For those who are upset about the sculpture loosing its prime location, no need to worry. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tourist magnet ‘I Amsterdam’ sign has been removed," 6 Dec. 2018 Louisville Courier Journal The thousands of bourbon barrels sent toppling to the ground in the collapse of the second half of a Barton 1792 distillery warehouse this week in Bardstown let loose a flood of Kentucky's signature spirit. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Barton 1792 spill filled big bourbon ponds with thousands of gallons," 6 July 2018 Speed Retrieve is a drag race: An owner must loose the dog at just the right moment. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "This Whippet Is One of the World's Great Athletes," 18 June 2018 The arrows loosed from the back of a 1,500-pound horse at a break-neck pace find their mark, although in the case of the South Texas Archery Riders event at the historic Herman Brune Ranch, foam and not flesh are punctured with regularity. Ralph Winingham, San Antonio Express-News, "Ancient martial art combines horseback riding, archery skills," 24 May 2018 As the deadline for reauthorization approached, Trump let loose an anti-FISA tweet the morning of a crucial House vote. Massimo Calabresi, Time, "Intelligence Director Dan Coats Is the Mild-Mannered Force the Trump Administration Needs," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

That’s why unprotected wood becomes gray and rough — the surface fibers are coming loose. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Two enemies of outdoor wooden sculptures: Rain and sun," 24 June 2019 IndyCar had an opportunity to tighten the field two-thirds of the way through when a chunk of curbing came loose in Turn 7. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alexander Rossi exorcises his Road America demons in dominating fashion," 23 June 2019 Others have limited functionality, because button after button came loose in the laundry. Aram Mrjoian, Longreads, "Bearing the Weight of My Grandfathers’ Old Clothes," 15 June 2019 After Brown got engaged to Jed Wyatt at the end of her season, all hell broke loose. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Um, Is Hannah Brown Single After Her 'Bachelorette' Season?," 30 July 2019 Then all hell broke loose, with people talking over one another. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What Happens When a Group of Strangers Spends a Day Debating Immigration?," 23 July 2019 Before the sixth, Lucky Daughter broke loose before getting to the starting gate, ran along the race track and exited at the entrance to the barn area. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Espinoza notches first win at Del Mar since accident there last summer," 18 July 2019 England celebrated, players started to amble back to the halfway line, then a replay of the goal popped up on the big screen and all hell broke loose. SI.com, "England Win Over Cameroon Marred by Both Indomitable Lionesses' Antics AND the Reaction to Them," 23 June 2019 This morning at Bletchley Park’s D-Day celebrations, Kate Middleton let loose in a polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich with a playful slit. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Even Royals Can’t Resist a Spring Skin Reveal," 14 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'loose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of loose

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for loose

Adjective, Verb, and Adverb

Middle English lous, from Old Norse lauss; akin to Old High German lōs loose — more at -less

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Statistics for loose

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loose

The first known use of loose was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for loose

loose

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of loose

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not tightly fastened, attached, or held
: not pulled or stretched tight
of clothing : not fitting close to your body : not tight

loose

verb

English Language Learners Definition of loose (Entry 2 of 3)

: to release or untie (an animal or person)
: to make (something) less tight
: to shoot or fire (something, such as an arrow or a bullet)

loose

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of loose (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a way that does not fit close to your body

loose

adjective
\ ˈlüs How to pronounce loose (audio) \
looser; loosest

Kids Definition of loose

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not tightly fixed or fastened a loose board
2 : not pulled tight a loose belt
3 : not tied up or shut in a loose horse
4 : not brought together in a bundle or binding loose sheets of paper
5 : having parts that are not held or squeezed tightly together loose gravel
6 : not exact or precise a loose translation

Other Words from loose

loosely adverb
looseness noun

loose

verb
loosed; loosing

Kids Definition of loose (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make less tight He loosed the knot.
2 : to set free They loosed the dogs.

loose

adjective
\ ˈlüs How to pronounce loose (audio) \
looser; loosest

Medical Definition of loose

1a : not rigidly fastened or securely attached
b(1) : having worked partly free from attachments a loose tooth
(2) : having relative freedom of movement
c : produced freely and accompanied by raising of mucus a loose cough
2a : not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement loose connective tissue
b : not solid : watery loose stools
3 : overactive specifically : marked by frequent voiding especially of watery stools loose bowels
4 : not tightly drawn or stretched loose skin

Other Words from loose

loosely adverb
looseness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on loose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loose

Spanish Central: Translation of loose

Nglish: Translation of loose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loose for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loose

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