[ 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), loop·holed, loop·hol·ing.

to furnish with loopholes.

Nearby words

  1. loop stitch,
  2. loop window,
  3. loop-the-loop,
  4. looped,
  5. looper,
  6. loophole frame,
  7. looping,
  8. looping mill,
  9. loopy,
  10. loos

Origin of loophole

First recorded in 1585–95; loop2 + hole

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

Examples from the Web for loophole

British Dictionary definitions for loophole


/ (ˈluːpˌhəʊl) /


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


(tr) to provide with loopholes

Word Origin for loophole

C16: from loop ² + 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

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