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

In Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab tests, the carbonation helped loosen soil and removed debris trapped in the settings and on the facets. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean Your Jewelry Like a Pro," 7 May 2019 Archaic, illiberal drinking laws that banned serving alcohol in pubs after 11pm were scrapped, and gambling restrictions were loosened at her behest, too. The Economist, "Tessa Jowell, Olympian politician," 14 May 2018 If activity softens more than expected or if inflation and inflation expectations continue to run too low, then policy may have to be left on hold—or perhaps even loosened—to provide... Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "Fed’s Evans: If Inflation Weakens, Fed May Have To Lower Rates," 3 May 2019 The gentle abrasives in these formulas will help loosen stubborn residue that needs a bit of a nudge but isn’t totally welded onto your glass. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean A Glass Cooktop so it Looks Brand New Again," 30 Apr. 2019 And before the Trump administration loosened lease requirements, some environmentalists said that the environmental review process was inadequate and often ignored public input. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 The laws also rework voting regulations, restrict early in-person voting to the two weeks preceding an election and loosen requirements for military and overseas voters. Todd Richmond, The Seattle Times, "Unions in court over laws limiting Wisconsin governor, AG," 25 Mar. 2019 Transit services are inching back to normal as icy weather begins to loosen its grip on New Orleans. Greg Larose, NOLA.com, "St. Charles Avenue streetcar resumes service after icy weather," 18 Jan. 2018 At the same time, there was a decrease in the number of new laws loosening access to guns. German Lopez, Vox, "How the Parkland shooting changed America’s gun debate," 26 Dec. 2018

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

22 May 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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