set loose

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Senior Member
This is an extract from the novel Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey.

But Georgina was still simmering over her latest heated exchange with James, which was aggravated by what she'd just heard. The man was no more than amused that his son was following in his footsteps . . . another reprehensible rake to be set loose on womankind.

Would you like to give me the meaning of "set loose" in this case? Thanks.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Basically, this seems to mean no more than that his son will one day reach the age when he'll start having relationships with women. If he is a rake, then the women he pursues will probably suffer. He will be a bad deal for the women he dates. From this perspective, he is being "unleashed" or "set loose" on women. Nobody is actually setting him loose, though. The phrase is being used figuratively.

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Loose' here means 'free', so to 'set loose' means to 'set free'. But there's also and added dimension of danger. You might set loose a pack of vicious slavering hounds, whereupon they are free to engage in predatory behaviour.
    Set the dogs on him. Set loose the dogs.
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