Still the crew, exposed to the danger of the ocean in open boats, and often cast loose miles from shore, were in serious danger.
He cast loose the painter of the launch, and with all his strength shoved it clear.
The Carondelet cast loose and steamed slowly down the river.
We ran into the water, and cast loose the body; but our undertaking had been useless.
There was not time to raise steam—only to cast loose the guns for action.
Saunders, slip out and cast loose the fore topmast staysail.
Then the Eskimo women and crews stepped in, and the stern ropes were cast loose.
When this is done, the carcase is cast loose, and the head is emptied, and let go also.
Already the majority of the lashings had been cast loose, and a few cuts with a knife severed what remained.
“cast loose that shovel from under the thwart, Brace, my lad,” he said.
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:
You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three"]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).
early 13c, "to set free," from loose (adj.). Meaning "to undo, untie, unfasten" is 14c. Related: Loosed; loosing.