loos·​en | \ ˈlü-sᵊn How to pronounce loosen (audio) \
loosened; loosening\ ˈlüs-​niŋ How to pronounce loosen (audio) , ˈlü-​sᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of loosen

transitive verb

1 : to release from restraint
2 : to make looser loosened his tie loosen a screw
3 : to relieve (the bowels) of constipation
4 : to cause or permit to become less strict often used with up loosened the rules

intransitive verb

: to become loose or looser

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Synonyms & Antonyms for loosen



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Examples of loosen in a Sentence

He used a spade to loosen the soil. She loosened the cake from the sides of the pan. After eating so much I had to loosen my belt. When the meeting was over he loosened his tie. One of the screws had loosened a bit and had to be tightened. Each generation seems to loosen the established standards of behavior. Standards of behavior seem to be loosening everywhere. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Leave the paste to set for a few hours or even overnight. Wipe off the paste with a damp cloth and use a spatula to loosen any stubborn bits of paste or grime. Terry Baddoo, USA TODAY, 11 May 2022 Sadly, my new lease on life also caused the tight fibers of our family to loosen over time. Nadja Halilbegovich, Time, 5 May 2022 In both China and Taiwan, leaders have been reluctant to loosen controls ahead of political events slated for later this year. Joyu Wang, WSJ, 4 May 2022 This has been particularly evident during the pandemic, when some of these companies began to loosen their standards. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 3 May 2022 The treatment plan involves no throwing and receiving daily soft-tissue treatment to loosen the area until the inflammation calms down. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 3 May 2022 The senior also does jumping exercises to loosen her hips to get wider easier and calf raises in preparation for the high kick. Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Apr. 2022 Other ways to treat morning headaches caused by tension include a warm or cold compress to ease the pain, a warm shower to relax tense muscles, or a massage to loosen trigger points. Rebecca Joy Stanborough, SELF, 19 Apr. 2022 Musk's comments on free speech suggest the billionaire could loosen rules on how tweets are moderated. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for loosen

Time Traveler

The first known use of loosen was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near loosen

loose milk



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Statistics for loosen

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loosen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loosen. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for loosen


loos·​en | \ ˈlü-sᵊn How to pronounce loosen (audio) \
loosened; loosening

Kids Definition of loosen

: to make or become less tight or firmly fixed Can you loosen this screw? His grip loosened.

More from Merriam-Webster on loosen

Nglish: Translation of loosen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loosen for Arabic Speakers


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