Confused Words | Lose and Loose

The confusion

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The words lose and loose are often confused. Lose means fail to maintain or fail to win. The word loose, however, means not tight .

Lose or loose?


The word lose is a verb. It means be unsuccessful in retaining possession of or fail in maintaining or winning. It is the opposite of win or gain .

The verb lose has the same form in the past simple and the past participle: lost.


  • I lost my keys yesterday.
  • Our team lost the match.


The word loose can be used both as an adjective and as a verb.

1. As an adjective, loose means not tight, free from constraints.


  • She was wearing a loose T-shirt and shorts.
  • The dog was loose on the street.
  • Her large shoes were very loose.
  • I have to go to the dentist; I have a loose tooth.

2. As a verb, loose means set free; release.


  • The hounds have been loosed.

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