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[lohvz] /loʊvz/
plural of loaf1 .


[lohf] /loʊf/
noun, plural loaves
[lohvz] /loʊvz/ (Show IPA)
a portion of bread or cake baked in a mass, usually oblong with a rounded top.
a shaped or molded mass of food, as of sugar or chopped meat:
a veal loaf.
  1. the rounded head of a cabbage, lettuce, etc.
  2. Slang: Older Use. head or brains:
    Use your loaf.
Origin of loaf1
before 950; Middle English lo(o)f, Old English hlāf loaf, bread; cognate with German Laib, Old Norse hleifr, Gothic hlaifs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for loaves
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After the loaves have become sufficiently cool, place them in the receptacle in which they are to be kept.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1 Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
  • A pan of four loaves was the daily allowance for sixteen men.

    Reminiscences of a Rebel Wayland Fuller Dunaway
  • When the finished product is obtained, the loaves are ready to be scored and served.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1 Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
  • "Three pots of jam and ten loaves ought to be enough," said my sister.

    Lady Bountiful George A. Birmingham
  • No man can succeed in a country parish who seeks the loaves and fishes of the worldling.

    Hepsey Burke Frank Noyes Westcott
  • Four loaves of bread were brought to him every day, and flesh-meat therewith.

  • Taking the flour, she kneaded it in the trough and made two loaves, one for herself and one for the travellers.

  • After that I was given a fourgon, a wagon in which to transport the loaves of bread.

    The Backwash of War Ellen N. La Motte
  • Shape loaves, place two loaves in each well-greased, brick-shaped bread pan, brush between loaves with melted Cottolene.

    Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners Elizabeth O. Hiller
British Dictionary definitions for loaves


the plural of loaf1


noun (pl) loaves (ləʊvz)
a shaped mass of baked bread
any shaped or moulded mass of food, such as cooked meat
(slang) the head; sense: use your loaf!
Word Origin
Old English hlāf; related to Old High German hleib bread, Old Norse hleifr, Latin libum cake


(intransitive) to loiter or lounge around in an idle way
(transitive) foll by away. to spend (time) idly: he loafed away his life
Word Origin
C19: perhaps back formation from loafer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for loaves



late 13c., from Old English hlaf "portion of bread baked in a mass of definite form," from Proto-Germanic *khlaibuz (cf. Old Norse hleifr, Swedish lev, Old Frisian hlef, Old High German hleib, German Laib, Gothic hlaifs "bread, loaf"), of uncertain origin, perhaps connected to Old English hlifian "to raise higher, tower," on the notion of the bread rising as it bakes, but it is unclear whether "loaf" or "bread" is the original sense. Finnish leipä, Old Church Slavonic chlebu, Lithuanian klepas probably are Germanic loan words. Meaning "chopped meat shaped like a bread loaf" is attested from 1787.


1835, American English, back-formation from loafer (1830), which often is regarded as a variant of land loper (1795), a partial loan-translation of German Landläufer "vagabond," from Land "land" + Läufer "runner," from laufen "to run" (see leap). But OED finds this connection "not very probable." Related: Loafed; loafing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with loaves
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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