- (transitive) To make loose.
- Synonyms: ease, relax, untighten
- to loosen a knot; to loosen one's grip / hold on something
- After the Thanksgiving meal, Bill loosened his belt.
- 1626, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum: or A Naturall Historie, London: William Lee, Century 5, p. 111,
- […] after a yeares Rooting, then Shaking doth the Tree good, by Loosening of the Earth […]
- 1944 May and June, “The Why and the Wherefore: Locomotive Soot Blowers”, in Railway Magazine, page 194:
- In order to deal with deposits of soot on boiler-tubes while running, especially if poor coal is in use, locomotives are often now provided with blowers on the firebox back-plate which can be made to discharge a jet of high pressure steam towards the firebox tubeplates; this has the effect of loosening and blowing off the soot deposits.
- 1960 December, “Talking of Trains: The railways and the Devon floods”, in Trains Illustrated, page 709:
- [...] and on the Saturday heavy seas pounded the W.R. on its exposed coastal stretch between Dawlish and Teignmouth, loosening the ballast and forcing trains to proceed with extreme caution.
- (intransitive) To become loose.
- I noticed that my seatbelt had gradually loosened during the journey.
- (transitive) To disengage (a device that restrains).
- (intransitive) To become unfastened or undone.
- (transitive) To free from restraint; to set at liberty.
- 1794, Ann Ward Radcliffe, chapter 5, in The Mysteries of Udolpho, volume 1, London: G.G. and J. Robinson, page 145:
- […] Valancourt, willing to take a more extensive view of the enchanting country, into which they were about to descend, than he could do from a carriage, loosened his dogs, and once more bounded with them along the banks of the road.
- (transitive) To relieve (the bowels) from constipation; to promote defecation.
- (transitive, obsolete) To create a breach or rift between (two parties).
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i]:
- I had rather lose the battle than that sister
Should loosen him and me.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To sail away (from the shore).
- Synonym: put out
- 1565, Arthur Golding, transl., The Eyght Bookes of Caius Iulius Cæsar conteyning his martiall exploytes in the realme of Gallia and the countries bording vppon the same, London: William Seres, Book 4:
- […] after the .iiii. day of oure arryuall in Britayne, the eightene shyps that we spake of before, which hadde the horsemen to conuey ouer, loosened from the further hauen with a soft wynd.
Derived terms Edit
- loosen someone's tongue
- loosen the apron strings
- loosen the purse strings
- loosen up
Related terms Edit
to make less tight
to free from restraint; to set at liberty