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[loop-hohl] /ˈlupˌhoʊl/
a small or narrow opening, as in a wall, for looking through, for admitting light and air, or, particularly in a fortification, for the discharge of missiles against an enemy outside.
an opening or aperture.
a means of escape or evasion; a means or opportunity of evading a rule, law, etc.:
There are a number of loopholes in the tax laws whereby corporations can save money.
verb (used with object), loopholed, loopholing.
to furnish with loopholes.
Origin of loophole
First recorded in 1585-95; loop2 + hole Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for loophole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The minister was weakening most lamentably, giving her husband a loophole to escape.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • From every side he attacked the problem, but nowhere could he find the loophole he sought.

    Under Arctic Ice H.G. Winter
  • "Well," Captain Jerry wriggled and twisted, but saw no loophole.

    Cap'n Eri Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • He saw it now, and saw that the only loophole was the chance this combat offered him.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • For myself, if I fail, there may well be some loophole of escape.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for loophole


an ambiguity, omission, etc, as in a law, by which one can avoid a penalty or responsibility
a small gap or hole in a wall, esp one in a fortified wall
(transitive) to provide with loopholes
Word Origin
C16: from loop² + hole
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 loophole

also loop-hole, mid-15c., from Middle English loupe "opening in a wall" for shooting through or admitting light (c.1300), perhaps related to Middle Dutch lupen "to watch, peer;" + hole (n.). Figurative sense of "outlet, means of escape" is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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