Definition of loose in English:

loose

Line breaks: loose
Pronunciation: /luːs
 
/

adjective

  • 1Not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached: a loose tooth the lorry’s trailer came loose
    More example sentences
    • Grinding can cause serious problems - broken or cracked teeth, gum problems, tooth sensitivity and even loose teeth.
    • The 15-year-old schoolgirl suffered a perforated eardrum and two loose teeth in the attack by up to five other children, while it was recorded.
    • ‘The fire brigade went up and down in their skylift several times and removed the loose stones very courageously,’ he said.
    Synonyms
    not fixed in place, not secure, insecure, unsecured, unattached; detached, unfastened; wobbly, rickety, unsteady, movable
  • 1.1Not held or tied together or contained within something: wear your hair loose pockets bulging with loose change
    More example sentences
    • He carefully secures the material around my head, making sure not to snag any loose hairs within the knot and places his hands once more on my shoulders.
    • A loose paper floats from within the bag and floats to the ground.
    • This further complicated the positioning of loose blocks within the meter-thick sequence.
    Synonyms
    untied, unpinned, unbound, hanging free, down, flowing, floppy
  • 1.2(Of a person or animal) not tied up or shut in: the bull was loose with cattle in the field the tethered horses broke loose
    More example sentences
    • All cities have ordinances against unleashed pets, and calling Animal Control about a loose dog will usually get someone to show up.
    • They listed children racing around on quad and motorbikes, noise from buzzing generators, loose horses and animal mess on pavements around the site among their complaints.
    • Locals would call to report a loose horse or missing cattle, and he would go out and round up the errant livestock.
  • 1.3(Of the ball in a game) in play but not in any player’s possession.
    More example sentences
    • He played little before this season but is the type of player who can scrape up several extra possessions by diving for loose balls and picking up stray rebounds.
    • You'll see a couple of loose ball scrambles each game and that's plenty to put a smile on our face.
    • Warn your fellow players of screens, loose balls or anything else that may give you a slight advantage.
  • 2(Of a garment) not fitting tightly or closely: she slipped into a loose T-shirt
    More example sentences
    • I turned to see Aya leaning in the corner, arms folded and dressed in loose shirt and tight shorts.
    • Clearly emphasising more on the textures and styling, the duo presented an entirely western range with skirts, dresses, jackets and loose trousers.
    • Home again, still a little over-heated, I changed back into shorts and a very loose shirt and cooled down nicely over a cup of excellent espresso.
    Synonyms
    baggy, loose-fitting, easy-fitting, generously cut, slack, roomy, boyfriend; oversized, shapeless, bagging, lax, hanging, sagging, sloppy, slouchy
  • 3Not close, compact, or solid in structure or formation: the fabric’s loose weave loose soil
    More example sentences
    • High contact pressures cause the feet to penetrate through the loose material and actually compact the soil directly beneath the foot tip.
    • When plants were grown in a combination of compact and loose soil, the spatial arrangement of the zones determined the shoot response.
    • It is rumored that the loose Federation idea has some support among the neoconservatives, which is worrisome, since they tend to get what they want.
  • 3.1Not rigidly organized: a loose federation of political groups
    More example sentences
    • Whether Armitage's proposal was formally adopted or not, "a very loose central government" is what has been created in Afghanistan.
    • Elected chancellor of the loose union of representatives of the worlds, she played the role of benevolent manager in times of strife.
    • Meanwhile, the other party leaders (and John Key) form a fairly loose cluster at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum.
  • 3.2(Of play, especially in rugby) with the players not close together.
    More example sentences
    • He also got the ball in hand several times in loose play and came close to a score.
    • The forwards did not get into gear and should have given their opponents a lesson in scrummaging and loose play.
    • There was a lot of loose play in the opening 15 minutes with neither side settling down.
  • 4Relaxed; physically slack: she swung into her easy, loose stride
    More example sentences
    • What you want for singing is, first of all, a loose relaxed neck.
    • As she stood there, contemplating the land, and resting, the muscles of her groin became slack and loose, and the weight of the child in her belly made her want to bear down almost instantly.
    • Have the confidence to let the shot go where you know it will, with a loose relaxed grip.
  • 4.1Not strict or exact: a loose interpretation
    More example sentences
    • You need to look at the slow erosion of states' rights, and strict vs. loose constructionism of the Constitution.
    • It seems like a rather loose interpretation of the word slave.
    • The new signs, in standard yellow and black, are up, and are predictably loose with their interpretation of English.
    Synonyms
  • 4.2Careless and indiscreet in what is said: there is too much loose talk about the situation
    More example sentences
    • He reports on a near-epidemic of indiscipline, suicides and loose talk
    • In too many instances, he said, the wives knew a lot about what the Bureau was doing, and they talked about it to excess — so much so that their loose talk might compromise current investigations.
    • In February 1940 a nationwide campaign was launched that warned the general public against loose talk and the dangers of unwittingly giving information to enemy sympathizers.
  • 4.3(Of play in cricket) inaccurate or careless: Lucas punished some loose bowling severely
    More example sentences
    • So when Shane bowled a loose delivery, I pulled it.
    • The left-handers were undaunted and were soon attacking the rather loose bowling with success.
    • He moved forward to become the top scorer in the innings with 71 when he played a somewhat loose shot outside the off stump to edge Alex to the wicket-keeper.
  • 5 dated Promiscuous: a loose woman
    More example sentences
    • A promiscuous woman is a loose woman. Note that in all three propositions, the reference is to sexual promiscuity.
    • Some traditional interpreters see this as a stern admonition - this is a loose woman, and she had better change her ways.
    • "Do you think Tess is a loose woman?"
  • 6(Of faeces) containing excessive liquid: loose bowel movements
    More example sentences
    • Diarrhoea was defined as three or more loose, liquid, or watery stools or at least one loose stool containing blood in a 24 hour period.
    • Patients often find that they must restrict or change their diet to avoid excess wind, odour or loose stool.
    • Phototherapy can give your baby loose stools, temperature problems, or dehydration.

noun

(the loose) Rugby Back to top  
  • Loose play: he was in powerful form in the loose
    More example sentences
    • The Irish line-out was majestic, only showing cracks in the quarter-final defeat to France, while the captain was also a raging inferno in the loose.
    • His line-out work was fine and he put himself about a bit in the loose.
    • They introduced a new very experienced prop who started to cause problems in both the scrums and in the loose.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Set free; release: the hounds have been loosed
    More example sentences
    • Then about 150 years ago the glacial dam burst, loosing a 100-foot, landscape-scouring wave that wiped out entire villages.
    • At the end of the millennial reign, Satan will be loosed and a massive rebellion against the kingdom and a fierce assault against Christ and His saints will occur.
    • The prime minister is afraid that his protestations will be lost in the synthetic public outrage that is being loosed by the Eurosceptic media.
    Synonyms
    free, set free, unloose, turn loose, set loose, let loose, let go, release, liberate; untie, unchain, unfetter, untether, unfasten, unpen, unleash
  • 1.1Make (something) loose; untie or undo: the ropes were loosed
    More example sentences
    • Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
    • At Epsilon's signal, the mercenaries unceremoniously dumped their load at Darkstorm's feet and loosed the ropes that kept it bound.
    • Just as he had loosed the compass from its rope, the sea gave a mighty heave and tossed the compass from his grip.
  • 1.2Relax (one’s grip): he loosed his grip suddenly
    More example sentences
    • He relaxed, and Lea loosed her grip, but again didn't release him.
    • I was actually beginning to think that we were having a romantic moment when he suddenly loosed his grip on me.
    • Mira watched in shock as his grip loosed, and he slid noiselessly to the floor, his mouth open in a surprised ‘oh’.
    Synonyms
    relax, slacken, loosen; weaken, lessen, reduce, diminish, moderate, soften
  • 2 (usually loose off) Fire (a bullet, arrow, etc.): he loosed off a shot at the vehicle
    More example sentences
    • You can see why Rummy would want to loose off a little cannon fire at anybody who wrote this up.
    • Visually striking and intriguing in concept, the link gun also takes its name from its secondary fire mode, which encourages the player to loose off a stream of fire towards a similarly armed team mate.
    • Sarah peeked over, spotting quickly to loose off another arrow before she was sniped off.
    Synonyms
    fire, discharge, shoot, eject, catapult, let go, let fly with

Phrases

hang (or stay) loose

[often as imperative] informal , chiefly North American Be relaxed; refrain from taking anything too seriously: hang loose, baby!
More example sentences
  • Still, if you go in not expecting very much, and relax and just hang loose, you will find a lot to smile about.
  • He likes to joke around and is tremendous about creating a positive atmosphere so the guys can stay loose.
  • The key I believe is to stay loose and just write whatever pops into your head.

on the loose

Having escaped from confinement: a serial killer is on the loose
More example sentences
  • Her husband restrained the thief until help arrived, but he later managed to escape and is still on the loose.
  • No one was interested in going to a school with a serial killer on the loose, no matter how prestigious it was.
  • The police detectives at the scene quickly realised there was a serial killer on the loose.
Synonyms
free, at liberty, at large, escaped, set loose, unconfined, unrestrained, roaming, unbound, unrestricted, untied, unchained, unshackled, unfettered; on the run, fugitive
informal on the lam

Derivatives

loosely

adverb
More example sentences
  • The play is, perhaps, best viewed as a series of loosely and thematically interlinked episodes.
  • A full review of what he has said shows he has certainly been loosely interpreted.
  • Sally suggests putting together a pair of straight trousers with a biggish top and a belt slung around loosely.

looseness

noun
More example sentences
  • The breadth and looseness of the recommendations are a dangerous precedent.
  • It's painterly, in fact - the correctness of the drawing and the looseness and liveliness of the assembly work together to make the sculptures live.
  • Similar looseness shows up on the expenditure side.

Origin

Middle English loos 'free from bonds', from Old Norse lauss, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German los.

Usage

The words loose and lose are different and should not be confused: see lose (usage).

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