adjective, loos·er, loos·est.
- having the players on a team positioned at fairly wide intervals, as in a football formation.
- (of a ball, hockey puck, etc.) not in the possession of either team; out of player control.
verb (used with object), loosed, loos·ing.
verb (used without object), loosed, loos·ing.
- to loosen or unfasten, as a ship from a mooring.
- to send forth; set adrift or free: He was cast loose at an early age to make his own way in the world.
- to release from domination or control.
- to become free, independent, etc.
- to revel without restraint: After the rodeo they headed into town to cut loose.
- to free or become free.
- to yield; give way: The guardrail let loose and we very nearly plunged over the edge.
- free; unconfined, as, especially, an escaped convict or circus animal.
- behaving in an unrestrained or dissolute way: a bachelor on the loose.
Origin of loose
Synonyms for loose
Antonyms for loose
Related Words for looselyalmost, generally, roughly, relatively, readily, liberally, effortlessly, about, around, circa, closely, comparatively, most, much, loosely, proximately, abundantly, amply, cleanly, lavishly
Examples from the Web for loosely
Contemporary Examples of loosely
But the specifics of “sex” were, and in many states still are, loosely defined.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
Stacked cylinders form a base beneath her feet and loosely roll about as she juggles objects and weaves in and out of hula-hoops.How the Circus Got a Social Conscience
November 7, 2014
I held them loosely, looking for opportunities to share, hoping they would help others as much as they helped me.Book Bag: Reading Your Way Out Of Grief
October 16, 2014
Whiskey and vodka are also loosely classified as such, but the base of baijiu is sorghum.The Most Powerful Liquor in the World
August 24, 2014
“I think they all loosely coordinate and to some degree they de-conflict their operations,” he said.Who Assassinated a U.S. General?
August 6, 2014
Historical Examples of loosely
She wore a white gown, and her hair was loosely gathered in a knot.The Prisoner of Zenda
She had found him already in the boat, which was loosely chained to a stone.Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home
Tie it loosely in muslin, and simmer in the milk for three-quarters of an hour; then strain.The Skilful Cook
She did not press it; she held it loosely, as it were timidly, caressingly.Victory
Her hands lay on her lap motionless, one in the other loosely clasped.The Moon and Sixpence
W. Somerset Maugham
- (esp of women) promiscuous or easy
- (of attitudes, ways of life, etc) immoral or dissolute
- (of the bowels) emptying easily, esp excessively; lax
- (of a cough) accompanied by phlegm, mucus, etc
- in a loose manner; loosely
- (in combination)loose-fitting
Word Origin for loose
early 13c., "not securely fixed;" c.1300, "unbound," from Old Norse lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," cognate with Old English leas "devoid of, false, feigned, incorrect," from Proto-Germanic *lausaz (cf. Danish løs "loose, untied," Swedish lös "loose, movable, detached," Middle Dutch, German los "loose, free," Gothic laus "empty, vain"), from PIE *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose). Meaning "not clinging, slack" is mid-15c. Meaning "not bundled" is late 15c. Sense of "unchaste, immoral" is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "at liberty, free from obligation" is 1550s. Sense of "rambling, disconnected" is from 1680s. Figurative sense of loose cannon was in use by 1896, probably from celebrated image in a popular story by Hugo:
You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three"]
Loose end in reference to something unfinished, undecided, unguarded is from 1540s; to be at loose ends is from 1807. Phrase on the loose "free, unrestrained" is from 1749 (upon the loose).
early 13c, "to set free," from loose (adj.). Meaning "to undo, untie, unfasten" is 14c. Related: Loosed; loosing.
In addition to the idioms beginning with loose
- loose cannon
- loose ends
- at loose ends
- break loose
- cast loose
- cut loose
- footloose and fancy-free
- hang loose
- have a screw loose
- on the loose
- play fast and loose