Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To make looser or less tight.
  • intransitive verb To free from restraint, pressure, or strictness.
  • intransitive verb To free (the bowels) from constipation.
  • intransitive verb To become loose or looser.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make loose; free from tightness, tension, firmness, or fixedness: as, to loosen a knot; to loosen a joint; to loosen a rock in the earth.
  • To render less dense or compact: as, to loosen the soil about the roots of a plant.
  • To let loose; free from restraint or confinement.
  • To become loose; become less tight, firm, or compact.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To become loose; to become less tight, firm, or compact.
  • transitive verb To make loose; to free from tightness, tension, firmness, or fixedness; to make less dense or compact
  • transitive verb To free from restraint; to set at liberty..
  • transitive verb To remove costiveness from; to facilitate or increase the alvine discharges of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb make something less tight; unfasten

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make less severe or strict
  • verb make loose or looser
  • verb disentangle and raise the fibers of
  • verb become less severe or strict
  • verb cause to become loose
  • verb become loose or looser or less tight
  • verb make less dense

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English lousnen, losnen, from losen, from los, loose; see loose.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

loose +‎ -en

Examples

  • Cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so; be sure to cut around the sides to loosen from the pan before cutting and serving. comments

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so; be sure to cut around the sides to loosen from the pan before cutting and serving.

    Black Raspberry Mazurkas (AKA Fruit & Oat Bars)

  • Also admittedly, loosen is more common by far than either of the un - forms, and Tiffany would have done better to use it.

    Word Court

  • As George Santayana wrote, the only bond that a modern liberal wants to loosen is the marriage bond.

    Stromata Blog:

  • As George Santayana wrote, the only bond that a modern liberal wants to loosen is the marriage bond.

    Free Speech Survives – With No Help from Liberals

  • Also admittedly, loosen is more common by far than either of the un - forms, and Tiffany would have done better to use it.

    Word Court

  • Wood screws are preferred over nails for assembly, as potato bugs have been known to ram against the walls until the nails eventually loosen from the wood and work free, compromising the integrity of the structure, and allowing the creatures to infest your house and lay eggs in your ear canal or anus.

    Boing Boing: July 23, 2006 - July 29, 2006 Archives

  • We winos are having to tighten, which is to say loosen, our belts.

    New Statesman

  • Discussions are taking place in the Pentagon over how to "loosen" the restrictions imposed by the disastrous "don't ask, don't tell" policy, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    feminist blogs in english » 2009 » June

  • And, you know -- so that can kind of loosen up the rock material.

    CNN Transcript Oct 25, 2009

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