loose and lose - the difference
 
Loose means not tight or free from constraint.
To lose means to fail to: (1) keep (2) win or (3) make money.
 

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There is often confusion over the words loose and lose. This is due to the lack of consistency in pronouncing words that end oose and ose.

For example, loose (LOOSS) rhymes with noose (NOOSS) but not choose (CHOOZ).

Lose

The word lose rhymes with snooze. It has the following meaning:
 
Fail to keep (either physically or in an abstract sense), to misplace, fail to make money in a business:

If I lose my glasses once more this week, I am going to glue them to my head.

Terry had already lost one family member to the cult.  He did not want to lose another.

The surveillance team lost their target when he entered the park.

"Here, geezer, if you don't shift those clock radios, I'll lose 300 sovs."
(UK slang: "shift" = sell / "sovs" = sovereigns = pounds)
Fail to win:

Back in 2002, our pub landlord bet 10,000 on Brazil to lose against Germany in the World Cup final.

If you do not train during the week, you will lose on Saturday.

Loose

Loose, which rhymes with moose, is an adjective meaning not tight, not dense, or free from constraint. Less commonly, it can be used as a verb meaning to unleash (e.g., to loose plagues upon humanity).

Examples:

Watch your footing on this loose gravel.
(not dense / not compact)

Travelers are advised to wear a lightweight shirt that is lose fitting. This is important to allow air circulation.
(should be loose fitting)

There is a dangerous dog loose on the street.
(free from constraint)
 
Select the correct version:



 
 

 
LOOSE MOOSE

People make mistakes with loose and lose because of the confusion over pronunciation.  If you remember that loose rhymes with moose, you will eliminate this error.


moose on the loose
 

See also:

What are adjectives?
What are verbs?
List of easily confused words




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