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From Middle English lously; equivalent to loose +‎ -ly.


  • IPA(key): /ˈluːsli/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: loose‧ly


loosely (comparative more loosely, superlative most loosely)

  1. In a loose manner.
  2. Not tightly.
    Insert all the bolts loosely, then tighten them.
  3. Approximately.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:approximately
    It's red, to use the term loosely, sort of brown and sort of orange, let's call it reddish.
    • 2017 January 19, Peter Bradshaw, “T2 Trainspotting review – choose a sequel that doesn't disappoint”, in the Guardian[1]:
      It is loosely adapted by John Hodge from Irvine Welsh’s novel Porno which imagined them coming together again 10 years on; this of course is 20.
  4. Used to indicate an imprecise use of words; short for loosely speaking
    A whale is, loosely, maybe very loosely, a fish.


Derived terms[edit]


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