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 loosenessmalfunction, abnormality, anomaly, vulgarity, depravity, irresponsibility, atrocity, evil, degradation, harm, pain, catastrophe, calamity, ill, wrong, corruption, suffering, misery, hatred, crime
Examples from the Web for looseness
Contemporary Examples of looseness
That gives Obama plenty of time to use the current looseness of the law to push forward the releases of many more prisoners.Bergdahl Deal Could Be First Step to Emptying Gitmo
June 2, 2014
It was that mixture of precision and looseness that was so influential.The David Foster Wallace Generation
Seth Colter Walls
April 7, 2011
Historical Examples of looseness
At most, with his looseness of morality, he regards debt as an inconvenience, not as a calamity.The Philippine Islands
Children who are teething are frequently affected with looseness.The Physical Life of Woman:
Dr. George H Napheys
But this looseness, resulting from the separation of the sexes, is accidental, not necessary.Vikram and the Vampire
Richard F. Burton
There was great license and looseness of life, in both men and women.
Drouet was palavering himself with the looseness of excitement and passion.Sister Carrie
- (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