Loosen Up

Also: Loosen someone up

Meaning Of Idiom ‘Loosen Up’

To loosen up means to behave in a more relaxed manner and less serious manner; to become less formal; to talk freely; to allow oneself to behave freely in order to have a good time; to rid oneself of physical or mental tension. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook]. Wiley, 2003.,3Liptak, Peter, et al. Idiom Attack Vol. 1: Everyday Living (French Edition) Idiom Attack 1: Everyday Living. Exile Press, 2011.


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Examples Of Use

“I decided to tell a joke at the beginning of my speech. I’m hoping it will loosen up the audience.”

“You need to loosen up. This is a very informal workplace and you are being way too serious.”

“By the second drink, she loosened up and began to talk about herself.”

“Why don’t you just loosen up and have some fun? If you keep behaving like this you’ll have a heart attack by the time you’re fifty.”

Origin

Used since at least the early 1900s.

Loosen has long been used to mean become more relaxed. Similar to other idioms, the word up is used to mean “to a higher level” or as an intensifier.

A very similar idiom to loosen up is ‘let one’s hair down.’

To let one’s hair down literally means to undo one’s long hair and let it fall freely. Figuratively, it means to behave in a free and more relaxed manner.

We often use this idiom to mean “relax and have fun” especially after a period of hard work or tension.

Example: This week has been tough. I’m ready to go out and let my hair down.”

Another similar idiom to loosen up is to lighten up. To lighten up means to become less serious, angry, depressed, tense, or worried.

Ligthen up is often used as an order as in the famous movie line from Stripes, starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramous: “Ligten up, Francis.”

More Idioms Starting with L

More Loosen Idioms

More Up Idioms

 

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook]. Wiley, 2003.
3. Liptak, Peter, et al. Idiom Attack Vol. 1: Everyday Living (French Edition) Idiom Attack 1: Everyday Living. Exile Press, 2011.