Definition of let someone/something go in US English:

let someone/something go


  • 1Allow someone or something to escape or go free.

    ‘they let the hostages go’
    • ‘The gunman let Smith go and surrendered to the police around noon.’
    • ‘A hostage heard the gunmen shouting that they would release their captives if the security forces let them go.’
    • ‘Scream help or fire, or anything that comes to mind until they let you go.’
    • ‘The woman pleaded with the man to let her go, and eventually escaped after kicking him in the groin.’
    • ‘They let the dogs go, allowing them to go after my parents.’
    • ‘It only took me seven hours to talk the doctors into letting me go, and then they discharged me only when I threatened them with a lawsuit.’
    • ‘‘Whoever has him, please let him go and send him home to me,’ she said at the weekend.’
    • ‘After a trained release coordinator lets the birds go, they immediately fly back to the place where they're kept.’
    • ‘He produced a knife and forced her to remove her underwear, but when she repeatedly asked to be freed he panicked and let her go.’
    • ‘Though agents say they are sure illegal aliens or drugs were here perhaps minutes earlier, there is nothing now, so they must let the men go.’
    1. 1.1euphemistic Dismiss an employee.
      • ‘About 24 of the 100 employees at CBS Internet were let go in June.’
      • ‘On your side is the fact that, in most sectors, employers are increasingly realising that it's cheaper and more efficient to hold on to skilled people rather than let them go and train new employees.’
      • ‘The only protection people need in a tight labour market with skills shortages is to be so adaptable, trained and valuable that no employer would dare let them go or treat them badly.’
      • ‘And as Neil's report shows, you were not let go on good terms - you were fired.’
      • ‘Twenty workers still remained at the plant in the employ of the liquidator and it was unlikely they would be let go until after Christmas.’
      • ‘If you can't systematically advance on merit within business and the military, they let you go rather than allow you to sit and deteriorate in the same job.’
      • ‘In the free market, people are let go because changes in productivity or markets have made it uneconomical for their company to employ them.’
      • ‘If a crew member wants to leave, it's usually better to let him go instead of hanging on to a disgruntled employee.’
      • ‘He would hire employees, let them go when receivables dipped - and then hastily hire them back when the work flowed in again.’
      • ‘If an employee cannot fulfil his duties, the company can let him go even if the injury was due to factors outside the employee's control.’
      make redundant, dismiss, discharge, lay off, give notice to, pay off, remove, release
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  • 2Relinquish one's grip on someone or something.

    ‘Adam let go of the reins’
    figurative ‘you must let the past go’
    • ‘I let out a yell and tried to twist out of his grip, he let go and I fell with a thump.’
    • ‘She shivered slightly as his fingers gently gripped hers then slowly let go.’
    • ‘Blushing, Vicki reluctantly let go of his hand.’
    • ‘‘I love you too, baby,’ she said as she reluctantly let me go, allowing me to turn to my dad.’
    • ‘On another occasion a traumatised child - a victim of shelling in the stunningly beautiful Neelam valley - lay on a bed in a military hospital and gripped my hand and would not let it go.’
    • ‘Finally we made it to my locker and she reluctantly let go of my arm.’
    • ‘He let her go, half throwing her back against the sacks.’
    • ‘William refused to let her go as his grip around her tightened.’
    • ‘She smiled to herself and loosed her grip on his arm, but she did not let it go.’
    • ‘The dog Louis pulled on his leash at the sound of horses, and I let it go, allowing him to run ahead.’
    release, release one's hold on, loose one's hold on, loosen one's hold on, relinquish, unhand, surrender, give up
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