- unwilling; reluctant; disinclined; averse: to be loath to admit a mistake.
Origin of loath
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- to feel disgust or intense aversion for; abhor: I loathe people who spread malicious gossip.
Origin of loathe
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- (tr) to feel strong hatred or disgust for
- (usually foll by to) reluctant or unwilling
- nothing loath willing
Word Origin and History for loather
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.