Origin of loot1
OTHER WORDS FROM lootlooter, noun
Words nearby loot
Other definitions for loot (2 of 2)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does loot mean?
Loot is an informal way to collectively refer to valued goods, often ones that are newly acquired, as in That is one big pile of birthday presents—look at all that loot!
This meaning of loot is an extension of its original sense, which is still used but less commonly: goods stolen during war. Close synonyms are spoils and plunder. These words and loot can also refer more generally to anything stolen or taken in a dishonest way, such as through burglary or embezzlement.
Loot can also be used as a verb meaning to steal things in this way. It is most commonly used to refer to opportunistically stealing things from physical locations during chaotic situations, when police or other authorities are preoccupied, such as in the midst of war or a massive protest. It can also be used in a general or somewhat metaphorical way—crimes like embezzling government money are sometimes referred to as looting the treasury.
The act of doing so is called looting, and those who do it are called looters. These terms and the verb loot are always used negatively. They’re sometimes used in a loaded way that’s intended to portray people as lawless, such as when one tries to discredit protesters by calling them rioters and looters.
Example: The museum has chosen to return artifacts that were looted from other nations during antiquity.
Where does loot come from?
The first records of loot come from the 1780s. It comes from the Hindi lūṭ, which is equivalent to the Sanskrit luṇṭhati, meaning “(he) steals.”
Throughout history, looting has been a common byproduct of war: soldiers from invading armies loot, pillage, and plunder—meaning they use the opportunity to steal valuable stuff and take it home with them. That stuff has been called loot, spoils, plunder, and booty. The modern, informal noun sense of loot, referring collectively to good stuff like gifts or things you just bought, implies that such stuff is like treasure. (The word is often used in video games to refer to virtual items you can acquire in the game, such as by buying a loot box). But this sense of the word loot doesn’t imply that it was acquired in a bad way.
The verb sense of loot, though, always implies this. It can be applied to stealing by deception or stealth, such as a politician secretly taking money from public funds. But looting is most commonly used to refer to the act of stealing goods from physical locations, especially retail stores, during times of chaos.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to loot?
- looter (noun)
- looting (continuous tense verb, noun)
- antilooting (adjective)
What are some synonyms for loot?
What are some words that often get used in discussing loot?
How is loot used in real life?
When it refers to gifts or good stuff gotten in a good or neutral way, loot is typically used positively. Looting, looter, and the verb loot are always used negatively.
I really just opened the front door to a bunch of amazon packages and said “ooh look at all this loot!” 😑
— hayo 🦊 (@red_hayonnaise) May 19, 2020
You want a strong sanctions list? Go to Forbes! Go down the list of Russian billionaires who support Putin & loot the treasury & hit them.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) March 17, 2014
Alarming reports coming out of Elgineina, capital of West Darfur. After the burning of a refugee camp on Saturday, wide spread civil unrest, protests and looting. Access roads have been cut off.
— Tagreed Abdin (@taggy_) December 30, 2019
How to use loot in a sentence
SWSLA would stop Wall Street firms from looting businesses and destroying jobs for profit by forcing them to share liability and put workers first in the event of bankruptcy by providing for severance and pensions.Why the Democratic Party must make a clean break with Wall Street|matthewheimer|September 8, 2020|Fortune
Just going back to coronavirus a little bit, to me and to folks like me, it was very frustrating to see a three- to five-week hiatus in coronavirus coverage when the country was being looted, ravaged and burned.Full Transcript: Tomi Lahren on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’|Daniel Malloy|August 31, 2020|Ozy
It’s all led to genuine rage against the system, which in several cases over the past year has culminated in a minority of protesters burning down buildings and looting businesses.Violent protests against police brutality in the ’60s and ’90s changed public opinion|German Lopez|August 28, 2020|Vox
So, calling people names, assuming the worst in everybody, looting, burning stuff down, doesn’t help the healing process.Full Transcript: Sean Spicer on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’|Daniel Malloy|August 26, 2020|Ozy
Throughout the 24-page indictment, the group appears to be referenced as “Non-Profit-1” in a scheme in which Bannon and his partners were allegedly looting a crowdsourced charity, We Build the Wall, for personal gain.Federal Prosecutors Have Steve Bannon’s Murky Nonprofit in Their Sights|by Yeganeh Torbati|August 24, 2020|ProPublica
Botala remembers that the rebels would pull into the island, loot what they could, and then take the haul back to Stanleyville.
For years, William Schmidt single-handedly dug a tunnel through a mountain to transport his gold-rush loot.
Go and loot shops from business owners who were not part of the original problem whatsoever.Dinesh D’Souza: Ferguson Protesters Are Just Like ISIS|Olivia Nuzzi|August 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Sayyed, who never went to school, was one of the laborers hired by organized gangs to loot.
Then he pushed his loot outside and up the street towards his house.
The Christians who were unable to escape were either massacred or carried off as slaves into the interior, with the loot.The Philippine Islands|John Foreman
The fires were being rekindled; around each little groups, over the loot of the Turkish camps.God Wills It!|William Stearns Davis
For he was certain that the isolated structure Soriki had pointed out was not the treasure house they had come to loot.Star Born|Andre Norton
Thus, live-stock were fair loot, and so were carpets and other house-furniture, and arms of course.
What did they care for Urmi men and the settlement of Persia, when balanced against such a chance of loot and vengeance?