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loath

or loth

[ lohth, lohth ]
/ loʊθ, loʊð /
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See synonyms for: loath / loathness on Thesaurus.com

adjective
unwilling; reluctant; disinclined; averse: to be loath to admit a mistake.
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Origin of loath

First recorded before 900; Middle English loth, lath,Old English lāth “hostile, hateful”; cognate with Dutch leed,German leid “sorry,” Old Norse leithr “hateful”

synonym study for loath

See reluctant.

OTHER WORDS FROM loath

loathness, nouno·ver·loath, adjectiveun·loath, adjectiveun·loath·ly, adverb

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH loath

loath , loathe, loathsome
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

LOATH VS. LOATHE

What’s the difference between loath and loathe?

Loath is an adjective that means unwilling, reluctant, or disinclined, as in They are loath to get involved in such a messy situation. Loathe is a verb that means to hate or feel extreme disgust toward, as in I loathe the way he treats his dog or My kids loathe broccoli.  

Loathe always rhymes with the verb clothe. Loath can be pronounced this way, but it can also rhyme with both.

Loath is only ever used as an adjective, and loathe is only ever used as a verb. Both words are generally negative, but loathe is much more negative. Loathe is also the more common of the two words.

The word loathsome is an adjective form of the verb loathe that means causing feelings of loathing—disgusting or revolting. You would describe someone you loathe as loathsome.

Loath is usually followed by the word to and a verb, as in I’m loath to drive that far.

To remember that the verb loathe ends with an e, remember that it means the same thing as hate, which also ends with an e.

Here’s an example of loath and loathe used correctly in a sentence.

Example: I’m loath to think about how much he must loathe me.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between loath and loathe.

Quiz yourself on loath vs. loathe!

Should loath or loathe be used in the following sentence?

He was _____ to be so blunt, but he felt it was necessary.

How to use loath in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for loath

loath

loth

/ (ləʊθ) /

adjective
(usually foll by to) reluctant or unwilling
nothing loath willing

Derived forms of loath

loathness or lothness, noun

Word Origin for loath

Old English lāth (in the sense: hostile); related to Old Norse leithr
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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