loose cannon


Definition of 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

The old loose cannon, as he's known in political circles, was back. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Kanye West and Rudy Giuliani: The mouths that recklessly roared," 5 May 2018 Hernandez, who has long been a buff of Civil War history, is not a loose cannon. Dom Amore, courant.com, "He's Keith Hernandez ....And He's Got Stories," 8 June 2018 This new silent-but-deadly Teddy is yet another loose cannon on a show about an entire cast of characters going rogue. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "‘Westworld’ Episode 7 recap: 5 things to know about ‘Les Écorchés' and what lies beneath the surface," 4 June 2018 His best friend, Miles (Casal), is a classic loose cannon whose white working-class status gives him similar economic pressures but more room to behave as an angry wild card than Collin. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'Hamilton' star's 'Blindspotting' reinvents buddy films in thrilling ride," 1 June 2018 After getting a whole season of ratings fireworks from its resident loose cannon, the network finally drew the line. Karla Peterson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Rosanne Barr's new sitcom is canceled because of some old hate," 29 May 2018 Giuliani, however, is a loose cannon, and is already struggling to keep his story straight. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Rudy Giuliani May Have Just Implicated Trump in Two Federal Crimes," 3 May 2018 Paul Manafort spent the spring trying to argue that Mueller was a loose cannon, a reckless, out of control prosecutor straying far beyond his assignment. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Robert Mueller Likely Knows How This All Ends," 1 May 2018 In battleground states like Arizona, Florida, and Nevada, Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds. Kevin Freking, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump takes aim at familiar targets at Michigan rally," 28 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'loose cannon.' 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 cannon

1889, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for loose cannon

The first known use of loose cannon was in 1889

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More Definitions for loose cannon

loose cannon


English Language Learners Definition of loose cannon

: a person who cannot be controlled and who does or says things that cause problems, embarrassment, etc., for others

More from Merriam-Webster on loose cannon

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something that serves to warn or remind

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