Definition of loose cannon in US English:

loose cannon


  • An unpredictable or uncontrolled person who is likely to cause unintentional damage.

    ‘most of the cop heroes in contemporary films are loners and loose cannons’
    • ‘I've always (in my limited experience) found poker players at casinos to be engaging and chatty people, except for the occasional loose cannon.’
    • ‘The point about loose cannons is that they can be turned in any direction, not just that dictated by the party.’
    • ‘Then there is the loose cannon of the Juventus side, the unpredictable genius who gives them an ability to score from nothing, a player capable of becoming the best in the world, if only he can curb his dark side.’
    • ‘Blogs that mention work are the sort of potential loose cannons that keep PR reps up until all hours worrying about damage to corporate reputations.’
    • ‘She'd changed quite a bit since the days of her being classified as a loose cannon and an unpredictable quality on the field.’
    • ‘So, apparently, I was too posh and a potential loose cannon to boot.’
    • ‘They are not controllable, and they can be loose cannons which can be very dangerous.’
    • ‘I was going to the gym every day, I was a bit of a loose cannon.’
    • ‘He's chronically depressed, sometimes suicidal, and a loose cannon.’
    • ‘He was a charismatic loose cannon, a leader with the makings of greatness repeatedly brought low by his own untamed passions and headstrong impulsiveness.’
    • ‘At worst, they could become a loose cannon in a dangerous political void,’ the source warned.’
    • ‘Obviously we were all put on alert in case there was a loose cannon targeting skydivers.’
    • ‘They're loose cannons, and despite our differences in lifestyles, we get along with them.’
    • ‘She is considered a loose cannon by her crew, often unpredictable in a fight.’
    • ‘Europeans, cynical in politics and morals, think that this attitude makes us loose cannons.’
    • ‘The establishment feared him as passionate and unpredictable - a loose cannon.’
    • ‘A loose cannon might reveal corporate secrets, give out the wrong message, or even open up the company to legal trouble.’
    • ‘The last thing that the country needs is a loose cannon of his ilk.’
    • ‘He is a bit of a loose cannon and in a bank robbery mission he ignores direct orders to stand down and ends up accidentally shooting a hostage.’
    • ‘Since his dismissal, he has become a loose cannon.’


loose cannon