loose

1 of 3

adjective

looser; loosest
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement
loose soil
b
: not solid : watery
loose stools
4
a
: 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
5
a
: not tightly drawn or stretched : slack
a loose belt
b
: being flexible or relaxed
stay loose
6
a
: 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
looseness noun

loose

2 of 3

verb

loosed; loosing

transitive verb

1
a
: 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

3 of 3

adverb

: in a loose manner (see loose entry 1) : loosely

Example Sentences

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
Poland’s lead came in the first half when Robert Lewandowski scrambled to save a loose ball near the end line and then found Piotr Zielinski in front of the net, where the midfielder one-timed a shot over Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais. Andrew Das Andrew Das Andrew Das Sam Manchester Andrew Das The New York Times Rory Smith Rory Smith Victor Mather, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2022 When Bogdanovic was down on the floor, Suns forward Mikal Bridges grabbed the loose ball and made a jumper to push Phoenix’s lead back to six points. David Brandt, Detroit Free Press, 26 Nov. 2022 In that game, Jackson showed off his elite on-ball defense, cutting off passing lanes, pick-pocketing opponents and displaying never-ending effort – even diving on the floor for a loose ball late with the game in hand. Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant, 23 Nov. 2022 Midway in the first half Wednesday, a 6-foot-6 freight train scooped up a loose ball at one end of the court, barreled to the other and completed a ballerina-graceful layup that sent Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan sprawling. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Nov. 2022 Arkansas’ Trevon Brazile dove on the loose ball and called timeout with 7.5 seconds left. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022 Senior linebacker Ty Van Fossen then forced a fumble and junior defensive end Noah Potter recovered the loose ball to start the Cincinnati offense at its own 28-yard line with 8:00 remaining. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 20 Nov. 2022 AC Milan's Sergiño Dest fights for a loose ball with a midfielder from Monza during an October Serie A match. Matt Doherty, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Nov. 2022 Jeremiah Earby scooped up the loose ball and took it 33 yards to the end zone. Steve Kroner, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Nov. 2022
Verb
With each piñata crack of awkwardness, our pandemic PTSD let loose a little more. Matt Sullivan, Men's Health, 10 Aug. 2022 Maybe a week-long look in the mirror could jostle loose some new sense of hope heading into the season’s second half. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 23 Oct. 2021 And in her final, climactic lines, Jesse’s mother lets loose her pain in a series of run-ons, making the formlessness of her constant grief at once visible and physical. Robert Rubsam, The New Republic, 24 Feb. 2022 Finding dead end streets, eating at random restaurants, observing the jacaranda trees loose their purple flowers. Gael Couturier, Outside Online, 27 Mar. 2019 But as Badr briefly lowered his hands in an apparent attempt to put his shoes on, one of the officers let loose a police dog, which sunk its teeth into Badr’s arm and continued to grip it for close to a minute, causing Badr to scream in agony. Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2022 By filling an energy meter, which replenishes automatically over time, Mario, or one of the gang, can let loose a power shot that can send a ball hurtling to the faraway green. Washington Post, 2 July 2021 When Minder explained the situation to his client, the man let loose a string of expletives. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Vast plumes of smoke and debris were thrown up into the air as US B-52 bombers and fighter jets let loose a seemingly endless barrage of missiles. James Griffiths, CNN, 15 May 2021
Adverb
The design also featured a loose-fitting hood, which Moss seamlessly pulled over her top-knot bun. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2022 Olivia Wilde typically favors a casual look, and is frequently spotted in loose-fitting tracksuits, jeans and comfy hoodies (often her boyfriend Harry Styles’s merch). Alex Kessler, Vogue, 28 Oct. 2022 If ever there was a time to let loose with a four-letter word, this was it. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2022 The song was given an especially moody rendition until Manzanera let loose on his whammy bar and delivered a torrent of guitar pyrotechnics. Brad Auerbach, SPIN, 2 Oct. 2022 Golovkin appeared unwilling — or unable — to let loose. Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2022 That’s when Gedeon and Kilbane tightened their chinstraps one more time and let loose. Kilbane got to Schoster on second down for his third sack. Matt Goul, cleveland, 10 Sep. 2022 The Rhode founder styled an oversized navy blazer with a pair of loose-fitting cargo pants in the same hue, and a matching bandeau top. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 7 Oct. 2022 But the real masterstroke wasn’t just the head-to-toe linen on a baking hot day, but Pitt’s loose-fitting, brown linen skirt. Liam Hess, Vogue, 19 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Verb, and Adverb

Middle English lous, from Old Norse lauss; akin to Old High German lōs loose — more at -less

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near loose

Cite this Entry

“Loose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loose. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

loose 1 of 2

adjective

looser; loosest
1
a
: not firmly fastened or securely attached
a loose tooth
b
: no longer attached
a boat loose from its moorings
c
: not tight-fitting
2
a
: not shut in, tied up, or held back
a lion loose in the streets
b
: not brought together in a bundle, container, or binding
loose sheets of pages
3
: not dense or compact
loose dirt
cloth of loose weave
4
: not respectable : immoral
loose conduct
5
: not tightly drawn or stretched : slack
6
: not exact or careful
a loose guess
loose adverb
loosely adverb
looseness noun

loose

2 of 2

verb

loosed; loosing
1
2
: shoot entry 1 sense 1, fire
loose a volley

Medical Definition

looser; loosest
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
loosely adverb
looseness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on loose

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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