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


I wanted to turn loose the blunderbusses, but the Boss said: "No, let 'em enjoy themselves."

Don't you know enough to wait for "Three" before you turn loose?'

You turn loose on that one on the right, and I will look after the one on the left.

I couldn't say them and wouldn't say them before your wife, but now I'm going to turn loose.

With a .22 automatic one could turn loose at all sorts of ranges at all speeds.

I guess I'll have to turn loose and lie, so yuh'll listen to me.

These children we try to turn loose on the lively East Side, where they can join in the vigorous games of the slums.

A hunter that cannot get his limit of big game with twenty rifle cartridges is an unsafe individual to turn loose in the woods.

Then they exchanged winks, for it had really never been their intention to turn loose upon Bud again.

That night was black and lowering, fitting weather for the pandemonium I was about to turn 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.