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loose, lose

As an adjective or adverb, loose has the meaning “slack” or “unrestrained.”

  • The brisk breeze scattered the stack of loose papers onto the floor.
  • The dogs love to run loose in the Arboretum.

As a verb, loose refers to the act of setting free or unleashing something; the past tense is loosed.

  • Loose the boat from its mooring before stepping aboard.
  • When he heard the noises in the bushes, Howard loosed the dogs.

The verb lose means to misplace (something) or not to have (something) any longer; its past tense is lost.

  • A balanced diet will help you lose weight in a healthy way.
  • When Janet lost her engagement ring, her fiancé was very upset.