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 uploosened 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web And, once coronavirus restrictions loosen, Inspirato plans to run cruise charters and other more organized tours with partners like Lindblad Expeditions and Silversea Cruises. Paul Brady, Travel + Leisure, "This Travel Subscription Service Gets You Unlimited Access to Some of the World's Best Hotels," 26 Dec. 2020 Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out cups onto rack to cool slightly before serving. Meredith Deeds, Star Tribune, "3 flavorful appetizers to help usher in the new year," 25 Dec. 2020 City officials will no longer count COVID-19 cases among prisoners at Halawa Correctional Facility in metrics used to decide whether to tighten or loosen pandemic restrictions on Oahu. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Vaccine freezer, Christmas cheer, Iditarod trail switch: News from around our 50 states," 24 Dec. 2020 Older chairs were built so they could be repaired, because chair joints almost inevitably loosen over time as people scoot them around or lean back and forth on them. Washington Post, "Several ways to repair a broken spindle on an old chair," 21 Dec. 2020 Steam cleaning works with heat and water to loosen soils, but a manual clean will still be needed afterwards — especially for heavy soils. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Oven's Self-Cleaning Cycle," 7 Dec. 2020 Hours and capacity are limited now under coronavirus restrictions; when these loosen Local 718 will be a 24-hour operation, like Johnny White’s before it. Ian Mcnulty, NOLA.com, "Old Bourbon Street bar Johnny White’s, closed since March, becomes new Local 718," 3 Dec. 2020 Biden will move on all fronts to loosen immigration controls. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Biden’s Immigration Radicalism," 1 Dec. 2020 In April, Texas senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans asked the Federal Reserve Board to loosen criteria for oil and gas firms to access its Main Street Lending Program. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The US oil industry is flailing despite a $10 billion pandemic lifeline," 23 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for loosen

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Loosen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loosen. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for loosen


How to pronounce loosen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of loosen

: to make (something) less tight or firm : to make (something) loose or looser
: to become less tight or firm : to become loose or looser
: to become or to cause (something) to become less strict


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.

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Comments on loosen

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