American English

Definition of loose adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (looser, loosest)
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    not fixed/tied
  1. 1not firmly fixed where it should be; able to become separated from something a loose button/tooth Check that the plug has not come loose.
  2. 2not tied together; not held in position by anything or contained in anything She usually wears her hair loose. The potatoes were sold loose, not in bags.
  3. 3[not usually before noun] free to move around without control; not tied up or shut in somewhere The sheep had got out and were loose on the road. The horse had broken loose (= escaped) from its tether. During the night, someone had cut the boat loose from its moorings.
  4. clothes
  5. 4not fitting closely a loose shirt opposite tight
  6. not solid/hard
  7. 5not tightly packed together; not solid or hard loose soil a fabric with a loose weave
  8. not strict/exact
  9. 6not strictly organized or controlled a loose alliance/coalition/federation a loose association of artists, writers and composers
  10. 7not exact; not very careful a loose translation loose thinking
  11. immoral
  12. 8[usually before noun] (old-fashioned) having or involving an attitude to sexual relationships that people consider to be immoral a young man of loose morals
  13. ball
  14. 9(sport) not in any player's control He pounced on a loose ball.
  15. body waste
  16. 10having too much liquid in it a baby with loose bowel movements
    noun [uncountable]
  18. Idioms
    all hell broke loose (informal)
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    suddenly there was a lot of noise, arguing, fighting, or confusion There was a loud bang and then all hell broke loose.
    break/cut/tear (somebody/something) loose from somebody/something
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    to separate yourself or someone or something from a group of people or their influence, etc. The organization broke loose from its sponsors. He cut himself loose from his family.
    cut loose (informal)
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    to do something or to happen in a way that is not controlled Teenagers need a place to cut loose.
    hang/stay loose (informal)
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    to remain calm; to not worry It's OK—hang loose and stay cool.
    have a loose tongue
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    to talk too much, especially about things that are private
    have a screw loose
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    to be slightly strange in your behavior
    let loose something
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    to make a noise or remark, especially in a loud or sudden way She let loose a stream of abuse.
      let somebody/something loose
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    1. 1to free someone or something from whatever holds them/it in place She let her hair loose and it fell around her shoulders. Who's let the dog loose?
    2. 2to give someone complete freedom to do what they want in a place or situation He was at last let loose in the kitchen. A team of professionals were let loose on the project.
    play fast and loose (with somebody/something) (old-fashioned)
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    to treat someone or something in a way that shows that you feel no responsibility or respect for them
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: loose