American English

Definition of loosen verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they loosen
    he / she / it loosens
    past simple loosened
    -ing form loosening
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] loosen (something) to make something less tight or firmly fixed; to become less tight or firmly fixed synonym slacken First loosen the nuts, then take off the wheel. The rope holding the boat loosened.
  2. 2[transitive] loosen something to make a piece of clothing, hair, etc. loose, when it has been tied or fastened
  3. 3[transitive] loosen your hands, hold, etc. to hold someone or something less tightly He loosened his grip and let her go. (figurative) The military regime has not loosened its hold on power.
  4. 4[transitive] loosen something to make something weaker or less controlled than before synonym relax The party has loosened its links with big business. opposite tighten
  5. Idioms
    loosen somebody's tongue
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    to make someone talk more freely than usual A bottle of wine had loosened Harry's tongue.
    Phrasal Verbsloosen uploosen up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: loosen

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