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 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 Shake them to loosen them up a bit so the points aren’t as sharp.’’ Pitts’s favorite off-the-rack sources: Serena & Lily and Restoration Hardware. Boston.com Real Estate, "All the right stuff: Choosing the best throw pillows," 13 Sep. 2019 The ensuing negotiations led the apartment association to drop its opposition after Newsom and bill supporters loosened the anti-eviction rules while the cap itself was tightened. Los Angeles Times, "California tenants will see cap on rent increases under bill sent to Newsom," 11 Sep. 2019 That could be one reason that a few major energy companies, including Shell, BP America and ExxonMobil, have asked the U.S. government to tighten — not loosen — federal methane rules. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Who are the biggest U.S. methane emitters?," 30 Aug. 2019 After the peace some residents began renovating or building new houses, wrongly assuming the government would loosen rules that effectively bar private construction. The Economist, "Eritrea’s gulag state is crumbling," 11 July 2019 The Council of Institutional Investors, which represents pension funds and other big investors, had opposed NYSE’s proposal to loosen SPAC rules. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Blank-Check Boom Hits Snag as SEC Blocks NYSE Plan," 17 June 2019 Automakers had asked the Trump administration in 2017 to loosen the rules. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al.com, "Most of Alabama’s automakers want Trump to rethink emissions standards," 7 June 2019 House Republicans have revised their broader current immigration bill to include a provision loosening rules that now limit the amount of time minors can be held to 20 days. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump huddles with House GOP on immigration as border outrage escalates," 19 June 2018 Under Ajit Pai, the former Verizon Communications Inc. lawyer Trump appointed to head the FCC, the commission has been busy steadily loosening the nation’s rules restricting media ownership. Felix Gillette, Bloomberg.com, "Get Ready for Big Media to Get Bigger After AT&T Victory," 13 June 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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for loosen

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

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of loosen

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Britannica English: Translation of loosen for Arabic Speakers

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