loos·en / ˈloōsən/ • v. [tr.] make (something tied, fastened, or fixed in place) less tight or firm: loosen your collar and tie. ∎ make more lax: his main mistake was to loosen monetary policy | [as n.] (loosening) a loosening of the benefit rules. ∎ relax (one's grip or muscles): he loosened his hold so she could pull her arms free. ∎ [intr.] become relaxed or less tight: the stiffness in his shoulders had loosened. ∎ make (a connection or relationship) less strong: he wanted to strengthen rather than loosen union links. ∎ (with reference to the bowels) make or become relaxed before excretion: [intr.] his bowels loosened in terror. PHRASES: loosen someone's tongue make someone talk freely.PHRASAL VERBS: loosen up warm up in preparation for an activity: arrive early to loosen up and hit some practice shots. ∎ make or become relaxed: they taught me to have fun at work and loosen up | (loosen someone up) the beer is loosening him up. DERIVATIVES: loos·en·er n.