on the loose


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on the loose

Having been freed from some restraint or free in an environment with the potential to cause mischief, damage, or harm. Every time the Navy boat pulls into the harbor, there are sailors on the loose all over the city. There are reports of a large bear on the loose in the lower mountain town.
See also: loose, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

on the loose

running around free. Look out! There is a bear on the loose from the zoo. Most kids enjoy being on the loose when they go to college.
See also: loose, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

on the loose

1. At large, free, as in That dog of theirs is on the loose all the time. [Second half of 1800s]
2. Acting without restraint, as in After the game the players were in town, on the loose. [Mid-1700s]
See also: loose, on
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.

on the loose

COMMON
1. If a dangerous person or animal is on the loose, they are free because they have escaped from somewhere. The person who carried out those awful murders is still on the loose. There was a lion on the loose in the building.
2. If someone is on the loose, they are not being controlled or looked after by anyone and they are free to behave however they want. The movie is about a young boy on the loose in New York.
See also: loose, on
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(be) on the ˈloose


1 (of an escaped prisoner, animal, etc.) be free: There are ten prisoners on the loose. OPPOSITE: under lock and key
2 be enjoying a period of freedom from your normal life or usual rules and restrictions: Her boyfriend’s on the loose in Paris this weekend, but she doesn’t seem to mind.
See also: loose, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on the loose

1. At large; free.
2. Acting in an uninhibited fashion.
See also: loose, on
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.

on the loose

Not constrained by responsibilities, free to indulge oneself. This seemingly modern slangy expression dates from the mid-1700s, when it could also mean to live by prostitution. That may or not have been intended by John Cleland when he wrote, “The giddy wildness of young girls once got upon the loose” (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, 1749).
See also: loose, on
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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