‘Loose’ or ‘lose’?

Loose and lose are two completely distinct words, with different meanings and pronunciations. Below is a quick reference table outlining the differences between lose and loose:





rhymes with booze

rhymes with goose


verb forms

lose; losing; lost

loose; loosing; loosed

main verb meaning

to be unable to find or keep something

to release something


adjective forms


looser; loosest



*Note: the Oxford English Dictionary does have entries for ‘lose’ as a noun (one meaning ‘an instance of losing’, the other ‘praise; renown’), but neither is listed in our dictionaries of current English.

You can read more about and find further examples of the differences between the two words on the Oxford Dictionaries blog.


Back to Usage.

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Grammar and usage