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Related to loosen: unloosen
loosen (one's) tongue
To cause one to speak uninhibitedly. Often refers to the effect of alcohol. A few drinks will loosen her tongue, and then I'm sure she'll tell me the secret without me even having to ask. I've never met a reporter like Courtney. She can loosen the tongue of even the cagiest politician.
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.
1. Literally, to become looser, less tight, or less restricting. If those shoes are stiff right now, just give them time—they'll loosen up.
2. To make something looser, less tight, or less restricting. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "loosen" and "up." Thanks, that massage really loosened up my shoulders. I can't seem to loosen the knot up. Loose up your grip a little and your hand won't hurt as much.
3. To relax and act in a less serious manner. Oh, loosen up! It's a party—no one wants to talk about work stuff.
4. To cause one to relax and act in a less serious manner. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "loosen" and "up." My sister is very shy, but for whatever reason, our cousin Sarah always manages to loosen her up.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
loosen the purse stringsor
loosen your purse strings
If you loosen the purse strings or loosen your purse strings, you allow more money to be spent. If the Treasury loosens the purse strings, many authorities will be delighted to spend. Companies are loosening their purse strings and making investments in network improvements.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
loosen somebody’s ˈtonguemake somebody talk more freely than usual: A bottle of wine had loosened Harry’s tongue.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
loosen (someone's) tongue
To cause (someone) to speak freely or carelessly or to divulge information.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.