let oneself go
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
let (oneself) go
1. To behave in a wild or uninhibited manner. I was surprised that she let herself go at the party—she's usually so shy and reserved.
2. To fail to maintain an attractive physical appearance. A: "I was surprised to see that he had gained so much weight." B: "I know, he really let himself go after college."
1. To stop physically holding on to someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "let" and "go." If you let go of the ledge, you'll fall! The baby refused to let go of the rattle. He let the rock go, and it was a long time before we heard it hit the bottom.
2. To fire or dismiss an employee. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "let" and "go." I'm worried that they'll let me go once this special project is over. I heard they're going to let go a lot of employees involved in the scandal.
3. To release someone or something from custody. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "let" and "go." We did bring him in for questioning, but we had nothing to charge him with, so we had to let him go. What time did you let go the prisoner?
4. To stop pursuing a particular desire or attempting to maintain a particular situation and accept things as they are. In this usage, the phrase is often "let it go." He's never going to clean the kitchen as diligently as you would—just let it go. It's been 10 years, Ken. I think it's time for you to let go and move on.
5. To relax and not focus on one's responsibilities or stresses. I think I just need a weekend where I can let go for a while and not worry about what's going on at work.
6. To utter some sudden, fierce, or uncontrolled noise. Often followed by "with something." The trapped wolf let go with a bone-chilling howl. I don't know what made him so angry, but he suddenly let go a string of expletives.
let oneself go
1. Fig. to become less constrained; to get excited and have a good time. I love to dance and just let myself go. Let yourself go, John. Learn to enjoy life.
2. Fig. to let one's appearance and health suffer. When I was depressed, I let myself go and was really a mess. He let himself go and gained 30 pounds.