v. loos·ened, loos·en·ing, loos·ens
1. To make looser or less tight: loosened his tie; loosened her grip on the rope.
2. To free from restraint, pressure, or strictness: loosened the requirements for graduation.
3. To free (the bowels) from constipation.
To become loose or looser: My shoelace has loosened.
1. To do stretches or light exercise before a more strenuous activity.
2. To become less strict or tense, as in one's demeanor; relax: always loosened up after he got home.
[Middle English lousnen, losnen, from losen, from los, loose; see LOOSE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.