[ loo-suh n ]
/ ˈlu sən /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to become loose or looser (sometimes followed by up): His hold loosened. Your shoes will loosen up with wear.

Origin of loosen

First recorded in 1350–1400, loosen is from the Middle English word loosnen. See loose, -en1

Related forms

loos·en·er, noun

Can be confused

loose loosen lose loss
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for loosen

British Dictionary definitions for loosen


/ (ˈluːsən) /


to make or become less tight, fixed, etc
(often foll by up) to make or become less firm, compact, or rigid
(tr) to untie
(tr) to let loose; set free
(often foll by up) to make or become less strict, severe, etc
(tr) to rid or relieve (the bowels) of constipation

Derived Forms

loosener, noun

Word Origin for loosen

C14: from loose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012