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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The headband kept much of her hair tied up, but a few pieces hung loose around her face. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Lizzo Had Pink Hair for the Met Gala 2019," 7 May 2019 If the clamping force is greater than the load exerted between, say, the head and the block, those two pieces will never spontaneously get loose. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Torque Wrench to Keep Your Car from Flying Apart," 26 Feb. 2019 Once Janine realizes it’s her baby that’s sick, all hell breaks loose. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2, Episode 8 Recap: "I Only Wanna Be With You"," 6 June 2018 And my lungs huff, voicing their regret at my choice to bum a loose cigarette on Saturday night. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Why You Should Ski Uphill This Spring," 29 Apr. 2019 In case of a crash, a bulky coat can make the restraints too loose to be properly effective. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Here's When Target's Popular Car Seat Trade-In Event Is Happening," 9 Apr. 2019 Markle wore a loose-fitting navy coat dress by Givenchy, the fashion house that designed her wedding dress. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Confirming speculation at Friday’s royal wedding, Kensington Palace announced the news Monday.," 15 Oct. 2018 Her beau dressed in a loose-fitting button-down shirt with jeans and black sneakers. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Look So In Love During Their First Post-Wedding Appearance," 12 July 2018 Avoid loose-fitting apparel, sparklers can ignite fabric and clothes could catch fire. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Fourth of July: How to keep kids safe when using sparklers," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Pres Trump thinks loosing 3,000 lives is a success. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Trump calls Hurricane Florence 'bigger than anticipated,' tells residents to 'get out of its way'," 12 Sep. 2018 According to scientists, a poison arrow in the quiver may let loose a very sticky nether-region massacre. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Poison arrows inspire new male contraceptive, scientists report," 21 Jan. 2018 This column has long maintained that a high-level Russian criminal conspiracy is the one thing investigators won’t find when loosed on Mr. Trump’s colorful business and personal history. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Interpreting the Trump Meteor," 18 Dec. 2018 The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or loosing welfare benefits. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christian to denounce faith amid 'escalating' crackdown," 10 Sep. 2018 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 Could loose individual parts come together to form a stable yet evolving whole? Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Robots built this wild plastic pavilion," 28 Sep. 2018 Araya loosed an inhuman scream that sounded like he’d been shocked by 10,000 volts, cast in shadow by the flames licking the sky on either side of him. Bryan Rolli, Billboard, "Slayer Close Out First Leg of Farewell Tour with Blistering, Career-Spanning Austin Performance," 21 June 2018 To extract the spider, one poured water that loosed the web and the spider was extracted along with the web. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Trump's immigration flip," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But during a recent royal visit to Ireland, the younger royal let loose—unfortunately at the expense of his father, Prince Charles. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Made a Savage Joke About His Dad and We All Missed It," 11 July 2018 Crazy is an unstable element that when let loose in an unstable environment, explodes. NBC News, "Meet the Press - March 11, 2018," 11 Mar. 2018 Because the ball came loose, the play was initially ruled incomplete. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Play of the Week: Lions game was won on the strength of one-on-one battles like this one," 30 Oct. 2018 Another is the fact that fasteners designed to hold Webb’s sunshield cover in place were incorrectly installed and came loose during late-stage testing. Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, "If NASA can overcome human error and other problems, its James Webb Space Telescope may finally launch in 2021," 27 June 2018 During an acoustic test designed to simulate the noise and vibrations the spacecraft will experience during launch, multiple fasteners came loose, producing more than 60 bits of debris in and on the spacecraft. William Harwood, CBS News, "Launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope delayed again as costs rise," 27 June 2018 When conditions allowed, Zabel could perform urgent repairs, such as fixing a screw that came loose in the thermal system. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "Antarctica Greenhouse Produces Cucumbers, Tomatoes and More in Mars-Like Test," 24 Sep. 2018 About 45 miles away, in Lumberton, N.C., all hell broke loose. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "I Drove a Pickup Full of Supplies to a Town Flooded by Florence, and Here Is What I Saw," 25 Sep. 2018 The Lilac Fire ripped through a popular Bonsall horse training facility, forcing trainers to release hundreds of thoroughbreds who ran loose through the facility as their barns burned to the ground. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "NBC to shine huge Kentucky Derby spotlight on San Diego," 2 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about loose

Statistics for loose

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loose

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up loose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!