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  • verb
    -ens; -ened; -ening
    [+ obj] :to make (something) less tight or firm :to make (something) loose or looser
    He used a spade to loosen the soil.
    loosen a screw
    After eating so much I had to loosen my belt.
    [no obj] :to become less tight or firm :to become loose or looser
    to become or to cause (something) to become less strict [+ obj]
    loosen someone's tongue
    to cause someone to talk more freely :to cause someone to say things that would not usually be said
    loosen up
    [phrasal verb]
    to make or become less tense :relax
    loosen (someone or something) up or loosen up (someone or something) :to cause (someone or something) to relax
    I tried to loosen her up [=I tried to get her to relax and feel comfortableby telling a few jokes.