Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

loosen

verb
     
loos‧en
1 [intransitive and transitive] to make something less tight or less firmly fastened, or to become less tight or less firmly fastened [≠ tighten]:
You'll need a spanner to loosen that bolt.
The screws have loosened.
Harry loosened his tie.
2 [transitive] to make laws, rules etc less strict [= relax; ≠ tighten]:
Congress has loosened the restrictions on immigration.
3

loosen your grip/hold

a) to reduce the control or power you have over someone or something
loosen your grip/hold on
The government has loosened its hold on the media considerably.
b) to start holding someone or something less tightly than you were before [≠ tighten]
loosen your grip/hold on
He loosened his grip on David's arm.
4

loosen somebody's tongue

to make someone talk more than usual, especially about things they should not talk about

loosen up

phrasal verb
1 to stop worrying and become more relaxed, or to make someone do this:
She loosened up after she'd had a drink.
loosen somebody ↔ up
His welcoming smile helped loosen her up.
2DS if your muscles loosen up, or if something loosens them up, they stop feeling stiff
loosen something ↔ up
A massage will loosen up your joints.

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