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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Fold one-third of the whites into the batter to loosen it and then gently fold in the remaining whites in two batches until just incorporated. Beth Segal, cleveland, 15 Jan. 2022 As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, run a thin knife around the edges to loosen it. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Dec. 2021 Quarles, who left the Fed in December, was sharply criticized by many Democrats for leading the charge to loosen restrictions on the banking system put in place after the Great Recession. Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2022 Brewers are struggling to retain their dwindling edge, while spirits makers see a chance to further their ascension by burnishing liquor’s reputation and using canned cocktails as a new beer rival, while pushing to loosen restrictions. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2022 Covid cases are rising rapidly in Australia, with the Omicron variant posing a new threat just as states and cities were beginning to loosen restrictions. Helen Regan And Adam Renton, CNN, 23 Dec. 2021 However, a limited number of facilities in the U.S. have begun to loosen visitation restrictions for covid-19 patients. Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Online, 17 Oct. 2021 Tennessee has moved to loosen gun restrictions in recent years under Republican leadership. NBC News, 1 Oct. 2021 This summer, student athletes gained the right to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL) when the NCAA was forced to loosen restrictions on endorsements. Joe Moglia, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021

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

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loosen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loosen. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for loosen



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.

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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