American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Slang One that is uncontrolled and therefore poses danger: "[His] bloopers in the White House seem to make him . . . a political loose cannon” ( Tom Morgenthau).
- n. nautical a cannon that breaks loose during battle or a storm and causes serious damage to the ship and its crew
- n. idiomatic, by extension an uncontrolled or unpredictable person who causes damage to their own faction, political party etc.
- v. idiomatic To behave in a way such as to cause damage to ones own faction, political party etc.
- n. a person who is expected to perform a particular task but who is out of control and dangerous
- From the threat posed by loose cannon rolling about a warship under sail. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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These user-created lists contain the word ‘loose cannon’.
strident criticism, devolved approach, lax control, serious misgivings, incessant negotia..., fundamental task, controversial plan, fierce criticism, lengthy consultation, public confidence, central point, final push and 183 more...
Trendy, funny or highly descriptive collocations
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short (mostly two-word) collocations, pat phrases, idioms &c. that I like
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Names for firecrackers, real or imagined . . .
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My big word list.
Common words or phrases of nautical origin that have taken on different or metaphorical meanings. Chained_bear and I tossed a coin over who would make the list. I won (or lost, depending on how you...
scuttlebutt, taken aback, brass monkey, boot camp, clean bill of health, three sheets to t..., the devil to pay, between the devil..., by and large, the whole nine yards, mind your ps and qs, slush fund and 116 more...
Many (if not all) of these terms were selected from A pocket dictionary, for military officers, containing a definition of all the tactical terms now in use, with other matter belonging to the art ...
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