loosen

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

Synonyms

ease, relax, slack, slacken

Antonyms

strain, stretch, tense, tension, tighten

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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

The Tempe City Council is considering loosening the requirements to cite someone for excessive dog barking under the city's nuisance laws. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Barking dogs keeping you up at night? Tempe could make it easier to cite dog owners," 13 July 2019 That fear led to the 1798 passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which, among other things, tightened restrictions on criticism of the government and loosened those on deportation of non-citizens. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "Why Don’t People Smile in Old Photographs? And More Questions From Our Readers," 11 July 2019 The downside to not having a commercial kitchen is the absence of an FDA approval, which would loosen some of the restraints that come with operating from home, like the ability to have direct sales from their website. Erinne Magee, BostonGlobe.com, "Maine mom uses grilled salsa to advocate for autism," 8 July 2019 The legislation also gives cities that loosen their own restrictions on growth a better chance of winning state housing dollars. Taryn Luna, latimes.com, "California leaders strike deal to give cities and counties hundreds of millions to fight homelessness," 27 June 2019 Abbott also signed several bills that will further loosen Texas' permissive gun laws. Dallas News, "Marijuana and gun laws at odds, beer-to-go and more new laws, new mayor Johnson ushers in new era in Dallas," 18 June 2019 But Mr Rouhani staked his legacy on a deal, signed in 2015, that loosened sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme. The Economist, "Iran is blowing up ships in the Gulf, says America," 14 June 2019 Investors and analysts said a souring outlook for growth, particularly in Europe, had spurred the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank toward loosening monetary policy instead of tightening it. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "10-Year Treasury Yield Falls Below 2%, Defying Expectations," 20 June 2019 Most ended up stringing concertina wire or doing other mundane tasks, but in April the administration loosened restrictions that had barred the military from interacting with migrants so that troops could assist Border Patrol officers more directly. Eli Stokols, latimes.com, "Trump vows to deport ‘millions’ of migrants, but it’s unclear how," 18 June 2019

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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Statistics for loosen

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loosen

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

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More Definitions for loosen

loosen

verb

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

loosen

verb
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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More from Merriam-Webster on loosen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loosen

Spanish Central: Translation of loosen

Nglish: Translation of loosen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loosen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loosen

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