or loth

[lohth, lohth]


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

Origin of loath

before 900; Middle English loth, lath, Old English lāth hostile, hateful; cognate with Dutch leed, German leid sorry, Old Norse leithr hateful
Related formsloath·ness, nouno·ver·loath, adjectiveun·loath, adjectiveun·loath·ly, adverb
Can be confusedloath loathe loathsome

Synonyms for loath

Antonyms for loath

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for loath

Contemporary Examples of loath

Historical Examples of loath

  • He was worried and apprehensive, yet the camp lured his mate and she was loath to depart.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Joshua turned and took another step; but Gorman was loath to let him go.

    The Big Tomorrow

    Paul Lohrman

  • He was only enjoying an interview—a vengeance—he was loath to terminate.

    The Big Tomorrow

    Paul Lohrman

  • 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

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for loath




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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper