verb (used with object), loop·holed, loop·hol·ing.
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Words nearby loophole
What is a loophole?
A loophole is an absence or something vague in a rule or law that allows a person to avoid punishment, as in I was able to keep an alligator in my apartment thanks to a loophole in the housing rules that said only “no dogs allowed.”
Loopholes often result from poor wording or vague language in a rule or law. Generally, we can expect that anything that is not specifically forbidden or illegal must be allowed. However, this expectation sometimes allows people to get around the law by not violating the exact wording of that law.
For example, a law may say that no one is allowed to walk on the sidewalk after dark. People take advantage of the loophole in this law by skipping, running, or jogging on the sidewalk when it is dark. Technically, they haven’t done anything forbidden by the law so they could not be punished for it.
People who write laws and contracts try to avoid potential loopholes by using very specific language. Parents often have to do the same thing to avoid their children getting around their rules.
Example: The companies used a loophole in the tax code to avoid paying taxes by registering themselves as charities.
Where does loophole come from?
The first records of loophole come around 1585. It combines loop, meaning “something folded on itself, leaving an opening between parts,” with hole, meaning “an opening.” Originally loophole referred to holes in castles or forts that archers could shoot arrows through.
Loopholes are often used in stories and fairy tales for dramatic effect or to create ironic situations. For example, if the hero is magically prevented from visiting his true love during the day and at night, visiting her at twilight would be a loophole.
In both fiction and the real world, loopholes usually only work once. Governments and rulemakers quickly get rid of them as soon as they know they exist.
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What are some other forms related to loophole?
- loopholes (plural noun)
What are some synonyms for loophole?
What are some words that share a root or word element with loophole?
What are some words that often get used in discussing loophole?
How is loophole used in real life?
Loophole is a common word that often refers to creative ways that people avoid breaking the law or the rules.
Obama says banks are very creative. "If there are loopholes and rules to be bent, and arbitrage to be had, they will take advantage of it."
— Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle) October 6, 2011
CHECK THIS OUT: Meet the 14-year-old boy who used a loophole to run for governor of Vermont! pic.twitter.com/X7AYjHZTUS
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) August 14, 2018
There is always a loophole… pic.twitter.com/XZEnEP3EN0
— FranklySpeaking (@Frankspeakin69) December 15, 2020
Try using loophole!
True or False?
A loophole is vague wording in a law or rule that allows for the punishment of as many people as possible.
Example sentences from the Web for loophole
At the time of the law’s passage, net-neutrality advocates were deeply concerned that loopholes would allow operators to get away with practices that prioritize some traffic over other traffic, for commercial rather than technical reasons.The EU’s top court just closed a major loophole in Europe’s net-neutrality rules|David Meyer|September 15, 2020|Fortune
The government also was slow to plug a loophole that had allowed over 200,000 people to enter Hong Kong without undergoing quarantine—an exception experts say is responsible for starting the third onslaught of the virus.Hong Kong’s citywide COVID-19 testing has become a barometer of public trust|eamonbarrett|September 9, 2020|Fortune
Hall and his colleagues plan to address this regulatory loophole and come up with recommendations during a new round of workshops that will start next spring.Satellite mega-constellations risk ruining astronomy forever|Neel Patel|September 2, 2020|MIT Technology Review
MediaTek’s fortunes changed dramatically with Monday’s order, which essentially closed the loophole that MediaTek fit so nicely into.This chipmaker was a winner in the U.S. crackdown on Huawei. Now, it’s another victim|Grady McGregor|August 20, 2020|Fortune
Zero-rating, by the way, is a sort of loophole that allows internet providers to designate certain websites as counting for zero toward a customer’s data usage.
But, they added, that body scanners are absent at local airports, which they called “this large loophole.”A Gift to the Jihadis: The Unseen Airport Security Threat|Clive Irving|December 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Would it surprise you to learn there is a loophole in federal disclosure requirements?
Critics say the loophole leads for-profit schools to aggressively target veterans to draw additional federal funding.Why the University of Phoenix’s Favorite Congressman Killed the GI College Aid Bill|Aaron Glantz|July 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Efforts to close the loophole have failed in Washington, but have gained momentum in the states.Stop Me Before I Buy a Gun Again, Begs Bipolar Man|Eleanor Clift|June 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) acknowledged the loophole, but insisted the bill should nevertheless move forward.
No moon, no stars; only a red flash on the ground where the light streamed from a loophole in the great hall.God Wills It!|William Stearns Davis
A narrow loophole barely filtered through a pale ray of light into that semi-Stygian darkness.
All at once he remembered his promise, and a cunning loophole dawned in his foggy brain.The Woman Gives|Owen Johnson
If we got that, and widened a loophole, and shoved it through, it would look just like the muzzle of a cannon in the dark.'The Talking Horse|F. Anstey
They seem to belong to that commencement of terrible life which the dreamer sees confusedly through the loophole of the night.Toilers of the Sea|Victor Hugo