Etymology: Middle English lous, from Old Norse lauss; akin to Old High German lōs loose — more at -less
Date: 13th century
a. not rigidly fastened or securely attached
(1) having worked partly free from attachments <a loose tooth> (2) having relative freedom of movement c. produced freely and accompanied by raising of mucus <a loose cough> d. not tight-fitting 2. a. free from a state of confinement, restraint, or obligation <a lion loose in the streets> <spend loose funds wisely> b. not brought together in a bundle, container, or binding c. archaic disconnected, detached 3. a. not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement b. not solid ; watery <loose stools> 4. a. lacking in restraint or power of restraint <a loose tongue> b. lacking moral restraint ; unchaste c. overactive; specifically marked by frequent voiding especially of watery stools <loose bowels> 5. a. not tightly drawn or stretched ; slack b. being flexible or relaxed <stay loose> 6. a. lacking in precision, exactness, or care <loose brushwork> <loose usage> b. permitting freedom of interpretation 7. not in the possession of either of two competing teams <a loose ball> <a loose puck> • loosely adverb • looseness noun II. verb (loosed; loosing) Date: 13th century transitive verb 1. a. to let loose ; release b. to free from restraint 2. to make loose ; untie <loose a knot> 3. to cast loose ; detach 4. to let fly ; discharge 5. to make less rigid, tight, or strict ; relax intransitive verb to let fly a missile (as an arrow) ; fire III. adverb Date: 15th century in a loose manner ; loosely
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.