[ loop ]
See synonyms for loop on Thesaurus.com
  1. a portion of a cord, ribbon, etc., folded or doubled upon itself so as to leave an opening between the parts.

  2. anything shaped more or less like a closed curve, as a line drawn on paper, a part of a letter or other symbol, a part of a path, or a line of motion.

  1. a curved piece or a ring of metal, wood, or the like, used for the insertion of something, as a handle, etc.

  2. Aeronautics. a maneuver executed by an airplane in such a manner that the airplane describes a closed curve in a vertical plane.

  3. a circular area at the end of a trolley line, railroad line, etc., where cars turn around.

  4. an arm of a cloverleaf where traffic may turn off or onto a main road or highway.

  5. Physics. the part of a vibrating string, column of air or other medium, etc., between two adjacent nodes.

  6. Electricity. a closed electric or magnetic circuit.

  7. Computers. the reiteration of a set of instructions in a routine or program.

  8. a wire, usually of platinum, one end of which is curved to form a loop, used for transferring microorganisms from one medium to another.

  9. a sandbar that encloses or nearly encloses a body of water.

  10. Figure Skating. a school figure in which a skater traces a large half circle, a small oval within its arc, and another large half circle to complete the figure while remaining on the same skating edge.

  11. the Loop, the main business district of Chicago.

verb (used with object)
  1. to form into a loop: The first step is to loop the rope into a circle about the size of a dinner plate.

  2. to make a loop in: Sometimes the hose gets looped in such a way as to inadvertently make a knot.

  1. to enfold or encircle in or with something arranged in a loop: I’m always looping my finger in with the yarn when I’m winding it into a ball.

  2. to fasten by forming into a loop, or by means of something formed into a loop (often followed by up): to loop up the new draperies.

  3. to cause (a missile or projectile) to trace a looping or looplike trajectory through the air: to loop a grenade into the building.

  4. to fly (an airplane) in a loop or series of loops.

  5. to connect (conductors) in the shape of a loop within a closed electric or magnetic circuit.

  6. Movies. to complete by recording dialogue, sound effects, etc., onto an existing film track or soundtrack: We still have to loop the final scenes.

verb (used without object)
  1. to make or form a loop: The river loops around the two counties.

  2. to move by forming loops, as an inchworm does: The little green caterpillar looping along the leaf’s edge is the larva of a geometrid moth.

  1. to trace a looping or looplike path through the air: The fly ball looped high in the air.

  2. to perform a loop or series of loops in an airplane.

  3. Movies. to record dialogue, sound effects, etc., onto an existing film track or soundtrack.

Idioms about loop

  1. in the loop, among those who receive the latest information about something: If it’s anything pertaining to his test results, please keep me in the loop.

  2. out of the loop, excluded from those who receive the latest information about something: She’s often out of the loop on policy decisions.

  1. throw / knock for a loop, to astonish or upset: Her quitting the project really threw me for a loop.

Origin of loop

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English loupe “loop of cloth,” of uncertain origin; probably from Middle Irish, Old Irish lúb “bend, fold, loop”; perhaps akin to leap

Words that may be confused with loop

Other definitions for loop (2 of 3)

[ loop ]

  1. a small or narrow opening, as in a wall; loophole.

Origin of loop

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English loupe, loup “loophole”; compare Middle Dutch lūpen “lie in wait, peep, peer”

Other definitions for loop (3 of 3)

[ loop ]

  1. a hot bloom of pasty consistency, to be worked under a hammer or in rolls.

Origin of loop

First recorded in 1665–75; from French loupe, special use of loupe “wen, knob, gnarl,” ultimately from Germanic; see loupe

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use loop in a sentence

  • All about the cavity in the sand lay stones big and little, timbers, stakes, loops of rope.

    Mushroom Town | Oliver Onions
  • The mermen changed position, the net, now with stones in certain loops to weigh it, caught in their three-fingered hands.

    Star Born | Andre Norton
  • In festival decorations, joy is expressed by loops, curves and festoons.

    Color Value | C. R. Clifford
  • Finish with a border of loops, as follows: A double between blocks, (chain 3, a double in same place) twice.

  • How many hundreds of times has he gone round and round those two narrow crossing loops or circles!

    The Hills and the Vale | Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for loop (1 of 2)


/ (luːp) /

  1. the round or oval shape formed by a line, string, etc, that curves around to cross itself

  2. any round or oval-shaped thing that is closed or nearly closed

  1. a piece of material, such as string, curved round and fastened to form a ring or handle for carrying by

  2. an intrauterine contraceptive device in the shape of a loop

  3. electronics

    • a closed electric or magnetic circuit through which a signal can circulate

    • short for loop aerial

  4. a flight manoeuvre in which an aircraft flies one complete circle in the vertical plane

  5. Also called: loop line mainly British a railway branch line which leaves the main line and rejoins it after a short distance

  6. maths physics a closed curve on a graph: hysteresis loop

  7. another name for antinode

  8. anatomy

    • the most common basic pattern of the human fingerprint, formed by several sharply rising U-shaped ridges: Compare arch 1 (def. 4b), whorl (def. 3)

    • a bend in a tubular structure, such as the U-shaped curve in a kidney tubule (Henle's loop or loop of Henle)

  9. computing a series of instructions in a program, performed repeatedly until some specified condition is satisfied

  10. skating a jump in which the skater takes off from a back outside edge, makes one, two, or three turns in the air, and lands on the same back outside edge

  11. a group of people to whom information is circulated (esp in the phrases in or out of the loop)

  1. (tr) to make a loop in or of (a line, string, etc)

  2. (tr) to fasten or encircle with a loop or something like a loop

  1. Also: loop the loop to cause (an aircraft) to perform a loop or (of an aircraft) to perform a loop

  2. (intr) to move in loops or in a path like a loop

Origin of loop

C14: loupe, origin unknown

British Dictionary definitions for loop (2 of 2)


/ (luːp) /

  1. an archaic word for loophole

Origin of loop

C14: perhaps related to Middle Dutch lupen to watch, peer

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with loop


see in the loop; knock for a loop.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.