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Related to loosening: tightening, loosening of association

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.
See also: apron, loosen, string

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.
See also: loosen, purse, string

purse strings

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.
See also: purse, string

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.
See also: loosen, tongue

loosen up

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.
See also: loosen, up

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.
See also: loosen, 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.
See also: loosen, up

loosen up

to become loose or relaxed. Loosen up. Relax. We tried to get Mary to loosen up, but she did not respond.
See also: loosen, up

purse strings

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]
See also: purse, string

loosen the purse strings


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.
See also: loosen, purse, string

loosen somebody’s ˈtongue

make somebody talk more freely than usual: A bottle of wine had loosened Harry’s tongue.
See also: loosen, tongue

loosen up

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.
See also: loosen, up

loosen (someone's) tongue

To cause (someone) to speak freely or carelessly or to divulge information.
See also: loosen, tongue
References in periodicals archive ?
To date, there are few reports documenting the occurrence of metastatic infiltration as cause of failure of total hip arthroplasty, and only one report of cup loosening secondary to metastatic carcinoma (5-9).
By its unique design, it is capable of resisting loosening even under loads and vibrations strong enough to break the fastener.
If it is true that this actually represents an infection, albeit a very low-grade one, then the possibility exists that all cases which fail by loosening are septic, with organisms of widely ranging virulence, most likely from contamination of the wound site at the time of surgery.
In a literature review by Goodacre et al, abutment screw loosening was reported to range between 2% to 45 %.
It raises the efficiency of loosening frozen grounds by means of a gas impulse as the surface of the ground under the impact of the gas impulse increases.
Conservation and contextualism followed, concerned to reinstate the temporal, formal and experiential contiguities of the city, not only as mere nostalgia but as a loosening of the blinkers of modernity.
As a result, counter rotation of the bolt is stopped--and thus bolt loosening is prevented--until the locking system is removed.
Her account may contribute to loosening orthodoxy's grip.
For accurate atmospheric measurement of both Saturn from the Cassini orbiter and of Titan from the Huygens probe, several hundred bolts must maintain vacuum-tight sealed cavities for the duration of their mission, with no thread loosening or stripping.
The team studied 40 men: 20 with normal eyesight and 20 with glaucoma, measuring intraocular pressure with the men's shirt collars open, after wearing a fight necktie for 3 minutes, and 3 minutes after loosening it (Br.
If you're working in an area where the soil needs some loosening, but allows you to return the removed soil back to the excavation, connect an air nozzle to the optional Mud Dog onboard 185-cfm air compressor.
In addition, the increase in production of the hormone relaxin (which the body uses to prepare for labor) causes a loosening of the connective tissue around those joints and creates instability.
Overall, aqueous solutions do a fairly good job of expanding and loosening or dissolving cerumen plugs.
The bruising causes the nail to separate from the skin, so the loosening you describe isn't surprising.