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  1. a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc.
  2. the art or the process of weaving.
  3. the part of an oar between the blade and the handle.
verb (used with object)
  1. to weave (something) on a loom.

Origin of loom1

before 900; Middle English lome, Old English gelōma tool, implement. See heirloom


verb (used without object)
  1. to appear indistinctly; come into view in indistinct and enlarged form: The mountainous island loomed on the horizon.
  2. to rise before the vision with an appearance of great or portentous size: Suddenly a police officer loomed in front of him.
  3. to assume form as an impending event: A battle looms at the convention.
  1. a looming appearance, as of something seen indistinctly at a distance or through a fog: the loom of a moraine directly in their path.

Origin of loom2

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain


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2. rear, tower.


noun British Dialect.
  1. loon1.
  2. a guillemot or murre.

Origin of loom3

First recorded in 1670–80, loom is from the Old Norse word lōmr


  1. Loyal Order of Moose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for loom

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She pointed to the web of beautifully-woven cloth in the loom.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Instead of diminishing employment, the Jacquard loom increased it at least tenfold.


    Samuel Smiles

  • In order to see the fresco, I had to get on the top of a loom.

  • No, there is nothing in this Work which we can call ours, except it be the Loom.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Before it is ready for the loom, however, there are a number of operations which must be completed.

British Dictionary definitions for loom


  1. an apparatus, worked by hand (hand loom) or mechanically (power loom), for weaving yarn into a textile
  2. the middle portion of an oar, which acts as a fulcrum swivelling in the rowlock

Word Origin

C13 (meaning any kind of tool): variant of Old English gelōma tool; compare heirloom


verb (intr)
  1. to come into view indistinctly with an enlarged and often threatening aspect
  2. (of an event) to seem ominously close
  3. (often foll by over) (of large objects) to dominate or overhang
  1. a rising appearance, as of something far away

Word Origin

C16: perhaps from East Frisian lomen to move slowly


noun archaic, or dialect
  1. another name for diver (def. 3)
  2. any of various other birds, esp the guillemot

Word Origin

C17: from Old Norse lomr
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

Word Origin and History for loom


weaving machine, Old English geloma "utensil, tool," from ge-, perfective prefix, + -loma, of unknown origin (cf. Old English andloman (plural) "apparatus, furniture"). Originally "implement or tool of any kind" (cf. heirloom); thus, "the penis" (c.1400-1600). Specific meaning "a machine in which yarn or thread is woven into fabric" is from c.1400.


1540s, "to come into view largely and indistinctly," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Swedish loma, East Frisian lomen "move slowly"), perhaps a variant from the root of lame (adj.). Early used also of ships moving up and down. Figurative use from 1590s. Related: Loomed; looming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper