- to unfasten or undo, as a bond or fetter.
- to make less tight; slacken or relax: to loosen one's grasp.
- to make less firmly fixed in place: to loosen a tooth.
- to let loose or set free from bonds, restraint, or constraint.
- to make less close or compact in structure or arrangement.
- to make less dense or coherent: to loosen the soil in a garden.
- to relax in strictness or severity, as restraint or discipline: to loosen restrictions on trade.
- to relieve (the bowels) of their constipated condition.
- to become loose or looser (sometimes followed by up): His hold loosened. Your shoes will loosen up with wear.
Origin of loosen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
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
Word Origin and History for loosen up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper