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

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Other Words from loose

Adjective

loosely adverb
looseness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for loose

Synonyms: Adjective

insecure, lax, loosened, relaxed, slack, slackened, unsecured

Synonyms: Verb

blast, discharge, fire, shoot, squeeze off

Antonyms: Adjective

taut, tense, tight

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And the Oregon offense that Auburn held to 21 points in Week 1 broke loose for 77 against Nevada. Tyler Horka, USA TODAY, "SEC Football Power Rankings: Where does LSU land after win over Texas?," 9 Sep. 2019 As a teenager, Bloom drew boxers and wrestlers (his two older brothers were body builders) and — in one astonishing drawing included in the show — a titanically muscular man breaking loose from thick ropes on a wheel of torture. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Artist Hyman Bloom’s body of work is revered. And the bodies are cadavers.," 31 July 2019 Now, like Frankenstein’s monster, their discovery has been let loose upon the world. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "How to hold your head if you want to look intimidating," 15 July 2019 Byers saw Costley’s raw talent as a middle-schooler, then turned it loose at the high school level and the Owls thrived. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Basketball: Westminster star Herman Costley ‘was always the best player’," 13 July 2019 Let your teen loose on this site for back-to-school shopping. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "Top 8 online outlet stores for designer goods | Doreen’s Deals," 21 June 2019 The food was awesome, and the people are friendly, said the note, written on a loose napkin. al, "Alabama restaurant has no prices, just a box for donations," 16 Sep. 2019 On their website, the Smiths proudly attest that bulldozers have never compacted their loose, natural soil. Los Angeles Times, "The Kona coffee you buy from Costco and Walmart? It might be fake," 15 Sep. 2019 Don’t toss loose, filmy plastics in the recycling bins. Elena Shao, SFChronicle.com, "Recycling: 10 tips for getting it right," 9 Sep. 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

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 Then all hell broke loose, with people talking over one another. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What Happens When a Group of Strangers Spends a Day Debating Immigration?," 23 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.

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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

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Statistics for loose

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loose

The first known use of loose was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for loose

loose

adjective

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

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

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on loose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loose

Spanish Central: Translation of loose

Nglish: Translation of loose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loose for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loose

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involving a confidence or trust

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