Meaning of LOOSE in English


I. ˈlüs adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English loos, lous, from Old Norse lauss loose, free — more at -less


a. : not rigidly fastened or securely attached : lacking a firm or tight connection : ready to move or come apart from an attachment

loose planks in a bridge

sloping sides covered with … loose rock — F.J.R.Rodd


(1) : lightly secured or made fast ; especially : having worked partly free from attachments

a loose tooth

the knife had a loose blade

loose masonry

(2) : having relative freedom of movement or arrangement as a result of being only locally restrained or fixed

loose ribbons fluttering from her hat

the slamming of a loose shutter

c. : produced freely and accompanied by raising of mucus : not dry or harsh : productive

a loose cough

d. : easily altered or removed : not fast

a loose dye

a loose color

e. : permitting some freedom of movement — usually used of a stable or a box stall

f. : not clinging close to the figure : not tight-fitting

loose clothing

2. : free from a state of confinement or restraint:

a. : free from bonds, fetters, or confining limits

a loose convict

a horse loose of his tether

a lion loose in the streets

b. : free from constraint or obligation : at liberty : not bound (as by duty or habit)

if … your thoughts are loose of state affairs — Joseph Addison

c. : not assigned to special use or service : subject to free disposal : having no assigned place or employment

loose hours

loose funds

d. : not bound together : not brought together in a bundle, container, or binding : not secured in a setting or joined in a fixed combination

loose papers

loose hair

loose milk

e. archaic : disconnected , detached , random

a good deal of loose information — Thomas Carlyle

loose pages

f. : not joined to anything else

a loose line

3. : not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement: as

a. : composed of particles capable of free movement

loose earth

the action of the tides carried away the loose soil — American Guide Series: Maine

b. : not in close order : unserried

with horse and chariots ranked in loose array — John Milton

loose flocks drifting slowly from the neighboring jungle — William Beebe

c. : having wide spaces or interstices

a cloth of loose texture

d. : lax III 3c

e. : lacking compactness or smooth integration of build

a strong, loose , round-shouldered, shuffling, shaggy fellow — Charles Dickens


a. : lacking in restraint or power of restraint

a loose tongue

loose bowels

b. : lacking in moral restraint ; especially : characterized by immorality : lewd , unchaste , wanton

loose writings

a loose life

a loose woman


a. : not tightly drawn or stretched : slack

drive a pony cart with loose reins

a loose belt

loose skin

b. : having a flexible or relaxed character (as from weakness or agility)

my knees loose under me — R.L.Stevenson

walked with a loose swinging stride — E.T.Thurston


a. : lacking in precision, exactness, or care : inaccurate or indeterminate in construction : lacking in system or logic

a loose style

loose reasoning

a loose analogy

a loose thinker

b. : lacking in rigidity (as of construction) and permitting freedom of interpretation

a loose working agreement

a loose construction of the Federal Constitution

7. : characterized by limited cohesion between constituent elements and permitting a wide area of freedom of action

a loose federation of sovereign principalities — F.A.Ogg & Harold Zink


a. : not in strict accordance with the rules : being without special care

loose practice

b. : characterized by poor quality : inefficient or unskilled in performance

loose play

c. : having players relatively wide apart

a loose formation in football

— compare tight

d. : disputed as to possession : gone from control (as of a player or team)

a loose ball

a loose puck

9. : lax 4


a. : expressed in or characterized by loose sentences

loose style

b. : open 18

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English loosen, losen, lousen, from loos, lous, adjective — more at loose I

transitive verb


a. : to let loose : set free : release from or as if from restraint

the railroad had him arrested … but the judge loosed him with a warning — S.H.Adams

war has again been loosed — Arthur Geddes

the corn dance … should loose downpours upon the dry country — Oliver La Farge

b. : to free (as the lips or tongue) from restraint

c. : to give absolution to

whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven — Mt 16:19 (Revised Standard Version)


a. : to make loose : unbind , undo , untie

loose a knot

loosed the laces of her shoe — B.A.Williams

b. archaic : dissolve

by assuming vows no pope will loose — P.B.Shelley

3. : to cast loose : detach

loosed the boat from its moorings — George Eliot

loose a rope

4. : to let fly (as an arrow) : discharge (as a gun) : send forth (something) as a missile

a hail of bullets and arrows was loosed into the flanks of the … advance guard — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

the destroyer had loosed a salvo of 4.7-inch shells at her target — Crowsnest

— often used with off

the little boys had loosed off a pistol — Victoria Sackville-West

5. : to make less rigid, tight, or strict : relax , slacken

the old bonds of authority have been loosed by the war — Bertrand Russell

limbs had been loosed by grievous labor of combat — Alexander Pope

6. chiefly Scotland : to free or obtain by payment of a fee

7. Scots law : to stop (an arrestment) from taking effect : withdraw

intransitive verb

1. : to let fly a missile (as an arrow) : discharge a gun : fire — often used with off

almost loosed off at it before I saw it was a cow — Ernest Hemingway

2. : to weigh anchor : set sail

3. dialect chiefly England : to become dismissed

every day when the school looses — James Hogg

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: partly from loose (I) & partly from loose (II)

1. : the release of an arrow from a bow

with a strong bow the loose is easier to do well than with a weak one — A.E.Hodgkin

2. obsolete : the conclusion or outcome of a matter : issue

3. obsolete : the state or condition of looseness ; especially : freedom from or abandonment of moral restraint

4. : loose rock or rock that may easily be loosened

5. : open forward play in rugby — often used with the ; contrasted with tight

the North forwards … were so lively in the loose that they neutralized the advantage gained by the visitors in the tight — Rugger

- give a loose to

- on the loose

IV. adverb

Etymology: loose (I)

: loosely

our manners sit more loose upon us — Joseph Addison

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.