Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to loosen: unloosen
loosen the apron strings
To lessen the extent to which someone controls, influences, or monitors someone else, especially parents in relation to their children. Mothers these days are so fussy about their kids, having to know where they are at every second of the day. They would really do well to loosen the apron strings a little, if you ask me! Sending kids to summer camps has been in decline in recent years, as parents have become less and less inclined to loosen the apron strings.
loosen the purse strings
To become more liberal with one's expenditures; to increase the availability of money for spending purposes. After having to count my pennies for so long, it's nice to be able to loosen the purse strings a bit! We'd have a much better and more stable product if the boss would loosen the purse strings a little.
The spending power of a given group, such as a family, company, country, etc. Their government is going to have to learn to tighten the purse strings if they want to continue receiving bailout money from the IMF. After my dad's gambling problem came to light, it was my mother who started holding the purse strings.
loosen someone or something up
to make someone's muscles and joints move more freely by exercising them. The exercise loosened me up quite nicely. It loosened up my legs. I have to do some exercises to loosen myself up.
loosen someone up
Fig. to make someone or a group more relaxed and friendly. I loosened up the audience with a joke. Loosen yourself up. Relax and try to enjoy people.
to become loose or relaxed. Loosen up. Relax. We tried to get Mary to loosen up, but she did not respond.
loosen up (somebody)also loosen somebody up
to behave in a relaxed, informal way Slowly she began to loosen up and, by the second semester, she was making friends with her classmates. The question was supposed to loosen people up and chase away their anxieties.
loosen your tongue
to cause you to talk without thinking carefully about what you are saying The vodka really loosened her tongue and I found out exactly what happened that night.
loosen your tongue
if alcohol loosens your tongue, it makes you talk a lot without thinking carefully about what you are saying Her tongue loosened by drink, she began to say things that she would later regret.
Financial resources or control of them, as in His mother doesn't want to let go of the purse strings because he may make some foolish investments . This expression is often extended to hold or tighten or loosen the purse strings , as in As long as Dad holds the purse strings, we have to consider his wishes, or The company is tightening the purse strings and will not be hiring many new people this year . The purse strings in this idiom are the means of opening and closing a drawstring purse. [Early 1400s]
1. To cause someone or something to become more loose or relaxed: After the big meal, I loosened up my belt. The trainer loosened me up with a massage before the fight.
2. To become more loose or relaxed: The knots loosened up, and the captives worked themselves free. They seemed shy at first, but by the end of the dinner, the guests had really loosened up.
loosen (someone's) tongue
To cause (someone) to speak freely or carelessly or to divulge information.