Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


You have made every effort to save him by trying to break loose, and you have not succeeded.

She itched all over, longing to break loose and gad all the time, as father Coupeau said.

How could he break loose with Patriotism and begin aiming at something else?

Only occasionally does the speaker forget himself and break loose, as it were.

He had been writhing in his rawhide bonds, in a furious struggle to break loose.

It might break loose, or fall to neighing, and so betray my camp in the Sea-Wood.

I tried to break loose, but four huge Martians were holding me.

Still, should they attempt to break loose, it would be no easy task to stop them.

He pursues illusions, from the power of which he must break loose.

It is—and here's another thing: when's Mrs. Brace going to break loose?


early 13c., "not securely fixed;" c.1300, "unbound," from Old Norse lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," cognate with Old English leas "devoid of, false, feigned, incorrect," from Proto-Germanic *lausaz (cf. Danish løs "loose, untied," Swedish lös "loose, movable, detached," Middle Dutch, German los "loose, free," Gothic laus "empty, vain"), from PIE *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose). Meaning "not clinging, slack" is mid-15c. Meaning "not bundled" is late 15c. Sense of "unchaste, immoral" is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "at liberty, free from obligation" is 1550s. Sense of "rambling, disconnected" is from 1680s. Figurative sense of loose cannon was in use by 1896, probably from celebrated image in a popular story by Hugo:

Loose end in reference to something unfinished, undecided, unguarded is from 1540s; to be at loose ends is from 1807. Phrase on the loose "free, unrestrained" is from 1749 (upon the loose).


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.