from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lacking in rigor, strictness, or firmness. See Synonyms at negligent.
  • adj. Not taut, firm, or compact; slack. See Synonyms at loose.
  • adj. Loose and not easily retained or controlled. Used of bowel movements.
  • adj. Linguistics Pronounced with the muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed, as the vowel (ĕ) in let.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. lenient and allowing for deviation; not strict.
  • adj. loose; not tight or taut.
  • adj. lacking care; neglectful, negligent
  • n. lacrosse
  • n. A salmon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not tense, firm, or rigid; loose; slack
  • adj. Not strict or stringent; not exact; loose; weak; vague; equivocal.
  • adj. Having a looseness of the bowels; diarrheal.
  • n. A looseness; diarrhea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Slack; loose; soft; not firm in texture, consistency, or tension; readily yielding to touch or pressure: as, lax flesh or fiber; a lax cord.
  • Loose; free; being at ease.
  • Relaxed; not retentive: as, lax bowels.
  • Loose as regards force or energy; wanting vigor; weak; remiss; lacking in strictness: as, lax discipline; he is lax in his duty.
  • Loose in construction or application; not rigidly exact or precise; vague; equivocal.
  • In botany, loose or open; not compact: said of some panicles.
  • n. A loosing; relief.
  • n. A looseness; diarrhea.
  • To relax.
  • n. A salmon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. pronounced with muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed (e.g., the vowel sound in `bet')
  • adj. lacking in rigor or strictness
  • adj. emptying easily or excessively
  • adj. lacking in strength or firmness or resilience


Middle English, from Latin laxus, loose, lax; see slēg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English lax, from Old English leax ("salmon"), from Proto-Germanic *lahsaz (“salmon”), from Proto-Indo-European *lAḱis- (“salmon, trout”). Cognate with Middle Dutch lacks, lachs, lasche ("salmon"), Middle Low German las ("salmon"), German Lachs ("salmon"), Danish laks ("salmon"), Swedish lax ("salmon"), Icelandic lax ("salmon"), Lithuanian lašišà ("salmon"), Latvian lasis, Russian лосось (losos, "salmon"), Albanian leshterik ("eel-grass"). See also lox. (Wiktionary)
From Latin laxus ("wide, roomy, loose") (Wiktionary)


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  • ZURICH—Swiss regulator Finma may discipline four banks for having what it called lax controls on accepting money from foreign public officials associated with deposed Middle Eastern and North African leaders, but generally found that the country's lenders complied with anti-money-laundering rules.

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  • Speaking to security officials, Mr. Medvedev said airport officials and police responsible for what he called lax security at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport would be punished.

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  • Speaking to security officials, Medvedev said airport officials and police responsible for what he called lax security at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport would be punished.

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  • The union has been at odds with Morton over what it calls lax enforcement and gave him a no-confidence vote in June.

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  • Many came out and criticize what they described as lax security measures for this rally, but the government pointed out that this incident happened outside the rally, in a perimeter set up by police, Richard.

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  • Mr. Webb blasted the exchange for what he characterized as lax enforcement of its listing rules, which, he wrote, were too heavily influenced by special interests.

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  • ZAHN: Bill, earlier this morning, you pointed out a blistering piece in "The Boston Globe," focusing in on some of what they describe as lax security at the airport.

    CNN Transcript Sep 26, 2001

  • Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last February criticized Bank of America and HSBC for what it called lax policing on a few African accounts, including some from Angola and

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  • At 1 a.m. on Tuesday, the mayor spoke at a hospital where two officers were being treated for bullet wounds, and railed against what he called lax federal laws regulating gun shows.

    NYT > Home Page


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