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Jan 22

Lose vs. Loose: How to Use Each Correctly | Merriam-Webster

Lose and loose are easy to confuse. Lose typically functions only as a verb, with meanings related to failing to win or hold onto something; one might lose a game or lose ones temper. Loose can be used as an adjective ("not securely attached"), a verb ("to free something or someone"), and less commonly, a noun or adverb.

A loose key: easy to lose

We often see usage books warning against confusing the words loose and lose. These words are spelled in similar fashion, and the fact that lose rhymes so well with choose seems to prompt many people to assume that it too should contain a second O. Despite their orthographic closeness these two words are quite distinct in meaning.

Lose typically functions only as a verb, with such meanings as to bring to destruction, to miss from one's possession or from a customary or supposed place, or toundergodefeat in. Loose, on the other hand, occupies many more parts of speech. It can be an adjective (not rigidly fastened or securely attached, not tight-fitting) or a verb (to free from restraint, to let fly, discharge), and, less commonly, a noun (the release of an arrow from a bow) or an adverb (in a loose manner).

Both words are often found as parts of idioms. Here is a short guide to some of the things one might lose, and what each entails:

Lose ones temper - to get angryLose ones mind - to go insaneLose ones way - to become lost (often used figuratively)Lose ones head - to become very upset or angryLose heart - to become discouragedLose ones nerve - to become afraidLose count - to forget a number or totalLose face - to lose other people's respectLose it - lose one's composureLose out - fail to receive an expected reward or gainLose sleep over - to worry about (something) so much that one cannot sleep(this is usually used in negative statements, as in Im not losing any sleep over it)Lose ones grip - to lose control of one's thoughts and emotionsLose ones lunch - to vomit

When loose performs idiomatic functions it generally is as an adjective or adverb. Here are some of the things that might be loose, or that might exist in such a manner:

Loose change - coins that a person is carryingLoose cannon - a dangerously uncontrollable person or thingLoose-lipped - given to unrestrained talkLoose fit - a fit with sufficient clearance to permit free play or in the extreme to rattleHang loose - to remain calm or relaxedFast and loose - in a reckless or irresponsible manner (or in a craftily deceitful way)Have a screw loose - to be mentally unbalancedAll hell breaks loose - used to describe what happens when violent, destructive, and confused activity suddenly begins

Link:
Lose vs. Loose: How to Use Each Correctly | Merriam-Webster

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