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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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 Prince was wearing a loose-fitting top in a heathered sienna, with matching pants, a green vest, and a pair of beaded necklaces. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "The Book of Prince," 2 Sep. 2019 Leaning into that laidback appeal, Hadid opted for a pair of loose-fitting, high-waisted denim Sandro pants that also had stitching down the front, lending the look a hint of polish. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Puts a Supermodel Spin on the Canadian Tuxedo," 29 Aug. 2019 The Duchess of Sussex wears jeans, a loose-fitting oxford shirt and heels in the video, and her smile is bright in nearly every frame. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Duchess Meghan shares smiley Instagram story at her charity amid 'eco-hypocrite' backlash," 21 Aug. 2019 Bieber wore a light pink sweatshirt with the logo from his clothing brand, Drew, paired with loose-fitting light wash jeans. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin Enjoy Night Out in L.A. with Kendall Jenner and Khloé Kardashian," 10 Aug. 2019 If your traveling to the South of France this summer, flowy dresses and kitten heels will fit the European aesthetic or the temperatures in Southeast Asia call for loose-fitting clothes and sandals. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Here's What You Need To Pack For Your Next Vacation," 2 Aug. 2019 Look cool in a loose-fitting camp-collar shirt with a bold summer pattern. David Syrek, chicagotribune.com, "Lollapalooza no-stress style guide for guys," 21 July 2019 Along with becoming acclimated to the weather, a person who wishes to avoid heatstroke can wear loose-fitting clothing while in the sun, drink plenty of water and take it easy during the hottest part of the day. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Mitch Petrus, former NFL lineman and Super Bowl champion, dies of heatstroke at age 32," 19 July 2019 Protect your skin: The best way to stop skin from burning is to cover it with light weight, loose-fitting clothing and staying in the shade whenever possible. Emily Bamforth, cleveland.com, "5 ways to take care of your health in extreme heat," 18 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The collapse of Qaddafi’s regime loosed a wave of anarchy. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 Bitcoin is quickly loosing the refuge designation bestowed by some advocates in recent weeks as the largest cryptocurrency joins the global slide in riskier assets. Olga Kharif, BostonGlobe.com, "Even cryptocurrencies are getting clobbered in today’s market selloff," 14 Aug. 2019 Viewers know what such forces look like when they are loosed upon the world. M.s., The Economist, "“The Boys” is a superhero series for the Trump era," 27 Aug. 2019 Suddenly, opposition was loosed with a near-Biblical vengeance. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I confess': should the ‘seal of the confessional’ protect pedophiles?," 4 Aug. 2019 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 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 For those who are upset about the sculpture loosing its prime location, no need to worry. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tourist magnet ‘I Amsterdam’ sign has been removed," 6 Dec. 2018 Louisville Courier Journal The thousands of bourbon barrels sent toppling to the ground in the collapse of the second half of a Barton 1792 distillery warehouse this week in Bardstown let loose a flood of Kentucky's signature spirit. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Barton 1792 spill filled big bourbon ponds with thousands of gallons," 6 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb With 30 seconds remaining in the half, St. Cloud’s Koron Perrin broke loose on a 64 yard run but the Bulldogs failed to score on three plays from the five as time expired. J. Daniel Pearson Iii, orlandosentinel.com, "St. Cloud defense turns back Tohopekaliga," 14 Sep. 2019 All heck broke loose at the Raiders’ facility Thursday when news leaked of Brown’s confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock, which some speculated could lead to a suspension. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos not surprised Antonio Brown to play Monday night," 6 Sep. 2019 Fields broke loose for a 51-yard touchdown run, setting off an impressive opening 12-minute salvo. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "Ohio State must build on defensive start from 45-21 victory over Florida Atlantic," 31 Aug. 2019 On the fifth day, with 30 minutes left on his 12-hour shift, an 8,000-pound slab of steel broke loose from the pile and crushed his left foot. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "These are some of the 9/11 first responders who brought Jon Stewart to tears," 15 June 2019 That’s why unprotected wood becomes gray and rough — the surface fibers are coming loose. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Two enemies of outdoor wooden sculptures: Rain and sun," 24 June 2019 IndyCar had an opportunity to tighten the field two-thirds of the way through when a chunk of curbing came loose in Turn 7. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alexander Rossi exorcises his Road America demons in dominating fashion," 23 June 2019 Others have limited functionality, because button after button came loose in the laundry. Aram Mrjoian, Longreads, "Bearing the Weight of My Grandfathers’ Old Clothes," 15 June 2019 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

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

1 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce loose (audio)

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
How to pronounce loose (audio)

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
How to pronounce loose (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!