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

She and her brother, 10-year-old Dilan, sat at their grandparents' El Paso home, afraid to go outside, waiting for their mother to arrive amid a cascade of misinformation, including bogus reports of more gunmen on the loose. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "'Mom, it's happening again!' Two mass shootings leave El Paso residents wondering if anywhere is safe," 5 Aug. 2019 Selena lounges on the hood of an old-school car with loose Hollywood waves, looking straight out of the golden age of Hollywood. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Stars in the New Puma Campaign for the Brand’s Latest Cali Remix Drop," 5 Aug. 2019 North Carolina Hillsborough: Officials are looking for an emu on the loose that was last spotted jumping on the hood of a car before running away. USA TODAY, "Milestone rhino, Bigfoot shooting, jailed for feeding cats: News from around our 50 states," 1 Aug. 2019 With Sharknado-esque predators on the loose, how are weary vacationers supposed to relax? Zoe Greenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Sun, sand, and sharks: Cape beachgoers are wary about jumping into the water," 1 Aug. 2019 Someone at the ranch hatched a plan to replicate a copycat crime scene elsewhere, so police would believe Beausoleil’s story that Hinman’s killer was still on the loose. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Why Did the Manson Family Kill Sharon Tate? Here’s the Story Charles Manson Told the Last Man Who Interviewed Him," 26 July 2019 Thursday, the trap-soul singer, posted photos of her hot pink hair, styled into loose waves onto Instagram, and the post, which has since garnered half a million likes, also revealed her lit-from-within skin. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "SZA Is Giving Us Hair And Skin Envy Galore," 26 July 2019 Four gives me more of a loose wave, while six creates a classic Victoria's Secret bombshell curl (which Sarah actually created for the runway show in 2016). Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "The Beachwaver Basically Curls Your Hair for You—and It's on Sale," 24 July 2019 Instead of Williams's signature voluminous natural curls, stylist Vernon François gave her a sleek, shiny blowout with big, loose waves in layers reaching to her mid-back. Marci Robin, Allure, "Serena Williams Just Went From Ombré to Full-Blown Blonde Hair," 21 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Another way is this: The post-liberal project seeks to cage the furies loosed by Donald Trump and put them at the service of an intellectually coherent movement without the baggage of a leader accused by multiple women of rape. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Is Josh Hawley For Real?," 25 July 2019 There was a festive atmosphere at the Encore during its grand opening on Sunday morning June 23, when company executives and employees cut the ribbon and let loose a colorful blast of fireworks, while Frank Sinatra crooned through the loudspeakers. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Encore Boston Harbor took in $16.9 million in gaming revenue during opening week," 15 July 2019 By midsummer, 334 of them, most sponsored by businesses, had been loosed on city sidewalks and plazas. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: Tax increases and new laws, women increasingly caught in Chicago violence and other things to know to start your day," 1 July 2019 Emma delivers a passionless, matter-of-fact speech about how Monarch's monsters must be loosed and allowed to wipe out major metropolitan centers, because the radiation spewed by the monsters is... ecologically restorative? Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," 31 May 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

After Brown got engaged to Jed Wyatt at the end of her season, all hell broke loose. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Um, Is Hannah Brown Single After Her 'Bachelorette' Season?," 30 July 2019 Then all hell broke loose, with people talking over one another. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What Happens When a Group of Strangers Spends a Day Debating Immigration?," 23 July 2019 Before the sixth, Lucky Daughter broke loose before getting to the starting gate, ran along the race track and exited at the entrance to the barn area. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Espinoza notches first win at Del Mar since accident there last summer," 18 July 2019 England celebrated, players started to amble back to the halfway line, then a replay of the goal popped up on the big screen and all hell broke loose. SI.com, "England Win Over Cameroon Marred by Both Indomitable Lionesses' Antics AND the Reaction to Them," 23 June 2019 This morning at Bletchley Park’s D-Day celebrations, Kate Middleton let loose in a polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich with a playful slit. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Even Royals Can’t Resist a Spring Skin Reveal," 14 May 2019 Those looking to let loose will love the Boiler Room's lively atmosphere. Kara Thompson, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Winter In Cape May, New Jersey," 10 Dec. 2018 From there, the researchers mashed the results within the two cultural groups and let loose assembled facial models for orgasm and pained faces. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "How orgasm faces differ between people from Eastern and Western cultures," 9 Oct. 2018 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

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

9 Aug 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

to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!