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

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 To combat heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath and sip water. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 12 June 2022 Here's what didn’t happen: All the flesh on my face did not loosen and fall off my cheekbones, leaving me looking instantly elderly. Stephanie Dolgoff, Good Housekeeping, 2 June 2022 Executives and analysts say the situation could worsen because there are no plans to add significant refining capacity, and fuel demand will grow throughout the summer as drivers hit the road and more economies loosen Covid-19 restrictions. Peter Santilli, WSJ, 28 May 2022 As the country mourns the tragedy in Uvalde and other recent mass shootings, the Supreme Court may soon loosen gun laws in New York -- while several other Second Amendment cases continue to pile up on the court's docket. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 26 May 2022 Beech Grove is also going to need to make some outside shots to loosen things up for Ball and create driving opportunities for Tate, Alexander and Edwards. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Mar. 2022 The many different parts of a fan can loosen over time because of, in part, the force generated by the rotating fan. Timothy Dale, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 May 2022 China’s capital Beijing will loosen mobility curbs in several districts from Sunday after authorities said its outbreak is under control, while total case numbers in the financial hub of Shanghai continued to decline. Time, 28 May 2022 China's largest city revealed more plans to loosen its stringent COVID lockdowns Thursday. Julia Musto, Fox News, 26 May 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.

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

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loosen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loosen. Accessed 28 Jun. 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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