verb (used with object)
to unfasten or undo, as a bond or fetter.
to make less tight; slacken or relax: to loosen one's grasp.
to make less firmly fixed in place: to loosen a tooth.
to let loose or set free from bonds, restraint, or constraint.
to make less close or compact in structure or arrangement.
to make less dense or coherent: to loosen the soil in a garden.
to relax in strictness or severity, as restraint or discipline: to loosen restrictions on trade.
to relieve (the bowels) of their constipated condition.
verb (used without object)
to become loose or looser (sometimes followed by up ): His hold loosened. Your shoes will loosen up with wear.

1350–1400; Middle English loosnen. See loose, -en1

loosener, noun

loose, loosen, lose, loss.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
loosen (ˈluːsən)
1.  to make or become less tight, fixed, etc
2.  (often foll by up) to make or become less firm, compact, or rigid
3.  (tr) to untie
4.  (tr) to let loose; set free
5.  (often foll by up) to make or become less strict, severe, etc
6.  (tr) to rid or relieve (the bowels) of constipation
[C14: from loose]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from loose.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The robotic tuning machines jump into action, whirring and spinning as they
  tighten or loosen the strings to your specifications.
Bolts on the saws can loosen and the blade could detach, posing a risk of
  lacerations to consumers.
No amount of twisting or tugging would loosen its grip on his foot.
The machines doing the grunt work loosen the dust and send it airborne where
  workers can breathe it in copiously.
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