loose1 S3 W3
not firmly fastened in place:
not firmly attached
a loose floorboard
This tooth feels very loose.
The screw has come loose (=become loose).
not attached to anything else:
His rear wheel spun on the loose stones.
The potatoes are sold loose (=not packed in a container).
The driver had forgotten to fasten the safety chain and the trailer came loose (=become unattached).
not tied or fastened very tightly:
not tied tightly
a loose knot
if your hair is loose, it hangs freely rather than being tied back:
Her hair fell loose around her shoulders.
loose clothes are big and do not fit your body tightly [= loosefitting, baggy; ≠ tight]:
a loose sweatshirt
free from being controlled or held in a cage, prison, or institution
break/get loose (=escape)
A 34-year old inmate broke loose from the sheriff's office yesterday.
turn/let/set something loose (=let something go free)
Don't let your dog loose on the beach.
not exact or thoroughly done:
not exact[usually before noun]
a loose translation
a loose interpretation of the law
not strictly controlled or organized
not very controlled
loose federation/alliance/group etc
a loose federation of political groups
loose arrangement (=an arrangement that can easily be changed)
not pressed tightly together in a solid mass
not under the control of either team in a game of football, rugby etc:
Sheringham was the first player to reach the loose ball.
to free yourself from someone or something, or their influence
cut yourself loose (from something)
He cut himself loose from the constraints of family life.
b) American English informal
to start enjoying yourself in a happy noisy way after a period of controlled behaviour:
I'm ready to cut loose and enjoy the weekend.
to speak or behave in an uncontrolled way:
She let loose a string of four-letter words.
to allow someone to deal with something in the way they want to, when you think they will make mistakes or do something wrong:
Whatever you do, don't let Derek loose on the garden.
14 also be at loose ends American English
to have nothing to do:
I was at a loose end so I decided to go see an old movie.
parts of something that have not been completed or correctly done:
We've nearly finished, but there are still a few loose ends to be tied up (=dealt with or completed).
coins that you have in your bag or pocket
someone who cannot be trusted because they say or do things you do not want them to
18 American English spoken
used to tell someone to stay calm, or not to worry about something
having a problem in which the waste from your bowels has too much liquid in it:
behaving in a way that is considered to be sexually immoral:
not careful about what you say or who is listening:
There's been a bit of loose talk about it.
! Do not confuse the adjective loose (=not tight, not firm etc) with the verb lose (=no longer have something, be unable to find something etc) which has a different pronunciation .
A towel was loosely wrapped around his neck.
The film is loosely based on the novel.
—looseness noun [uncountable]