- unwilling; reluctant; disinclined; averse: to be loath to admit a mistake.
Origin of loath
SynonymsSee more synonyms for loath on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for loath
These officials, however, are loath to talk about him on the record.Israel Bombs Gaza While Hamas’ Kidnapping Mastermind Sits in Turkey
July 1, 2014
Washington, in particular, has been loath to do anything that might escalate.Is North Korea Collecting American Hostages?
June 7, 2014
Perhaps they're loath to identify themselves with a worldview that leaves so little room for nuance.Welcome to Glenn Greenwald, Inc.?
February 10, 2014
Was the studio just loath to finance a $200 million R-rated film?Guillermo Del Toro on ‘Cabinet of Curiosities,’ Collaborating with Kanye West, and More
November 8, 2013
The city was often loath to change companies, in part because it feared the disruption that canceling their routes might cause.New York City Bus Strike: A Cosy Cartel, Running Out of Gas
January 17, 2013
He was worried and apprehensive, yet the camp lured his mate and she was loath to depart.White Fang
Joshua turned and took another step; but Gorman was loath to let him go.
He was only enjoying an interview—a vengeance—he was loath to terminate.
I was loath to leave this historical tin box, but time pressed.
He would be loath to die until he had taught her to regret him.Mistress Wilding
- (usually foll by to) reluctant or unwilling
- nothing loath willing
Word Origin and History for loath
Old English lað "hated; hateful; hostile; repulsive," from Proto-Germanic *laithaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian leth "loathsome," Old Norse leiðr "hateful, hostile, loathed;" Middle Dutch lelijc, Dutch leelijk "ugly;" Old High German leid "sorrowful, hateful, offensive, grievous," German Leid "sorrow;" French laid "ugly," from Frankish *laid), from PIE root *leit- "to detest."
Weakened meaning "averse, disinclined" is attested from late 14c. Loath to depart, a line from some long-forgotten song, is recorded since 1580s as a generic term expressive of any tune played at farewells, the sailing of a ship, etc. Related: Loathness.