loose cannon


: a dangerously uncontrollable person or thing

Examples of loose cannon in a Sentence

a politician who is regarded as a loose cannon by her colleagues
Recent Examples on the Web Williams’s special, intended to capitalize on his reputation as a loose cannon, instantly disappeared into the cultural ether. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 6 May 2024 Human test pilots have a bit of a reputation thanks to popular culture—from The Right Stuff to Top Gun: Maverick, the profession has been portrayed as a place for loose cannons with a desire to go fast and break the rules. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 19 Apr. 2024 After eight years with a loose cannon as president, Iranians began to support reformists who promised a return to normalcy. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Foreign Affairs, 5 Aug. 2021 That’s also because the movie has a quasi-magical force for good in the lovable lug who comes on like a loose cannon, threatening disaster at every turn, but somehow, with guilelessness and honesty, always manages to emerge smelling like roses. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for loose cannon 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'loose cannon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of loose cannon was in 1889

Dictionary Entries Near loose cannon

Cite this Entry

“Loose cannon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loose%20cannon. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

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