loose vs. lose

The two are not synonymous verbs. Using them as such is not a stylistic choice. It is simply wrong.

Posting inspired by this particular gem: “First the chap looses his arm in what must have been a traumatising accident at work.”


  • grant freedom to; free from confinement [syn: free] [ant: confine]
  • turn loose or free from restraint; “let loose mines”; “Loose terrible plagues upon humanity” [syn: unleash]
  • make loose or looser; “loosen the tension on a rope” [syn: loosen] [ant: stiffen]
  • become loose or looser or less tight; “The noose loosened”; “the rope relaxed” [syn: loosen] [ant: stiffen]


  • fail to keep or to maintain; cease to have, either physically or in an abstract sense; “She lost her purse when she left it unattended on her seat” [ant: hold on]
  • fail to win; “We lost the battle but we won the war” [ant: win]
  • suffer the loss of a person through death or removal; “She lost her husband in the war”; “The couple that wanted to adopt the child lost her when the biological parents claimed her”
  • place (something) where one cannot find it again; “I misplaced my eyeglasses” [syn: misplace]
  • miss from one’s possessions; lose sight of; “I’ve lost my glasses again!” [ant: find]
  • allow to go out of sight; “The detective lost the man he was shadowing after he had to stop at a red light” (dictionary.com)

5 thoughts on “loose vs. lose

  1. My sista from the land of the boda boda! I am pleased to see you are well!

    Maybe the woman who cures “loose flaps” can also cure “loose arms.” Maybe the arms are so loose they keep falling off. There are miracles a-plenty!

  2. ai keguro. heh! heh!

    it irks me that not many can set the two words apart and keep losing themselves in the loose use of said. this sounded better in me head and i stick by it.

  3. To be fair, maybe the distinction really makes sense if you spent as many years as I did reading about demons being cast out.

    And Jesus loosed the demons into the pigs.

    And Keguro lost his appetite for meat.

    Of course, the problem is the verb form of loose, which is increasingly rare. And, it could also be an ear/eye/mind trick.

    “If I add an extra ‘o’ to ‘lose,’ it will emphasize that x was really really lost!”

    The mind is a dangerous thing.

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