loath

adjective
\ ˈlōth, ˈlōt͟h \
variants: or less commonly \ ˈlōth , ˈlōt͟h \ or loathe \ ˈlōt͟h , ˈlōth \

Definition of loath

: unwilling to do something contrary to one's ways of thinking : reluctant She was loath to admit her mistakes.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from loath

loathness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for loath

Synonyms

cagey (also cagy), disinclined, dubious, hesitant, indisposed, reluctant, reticent

Antonyms

disposed, inclined

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for loath

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination. disinclined to move again disinclined for reading hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty. hesitant about asking for a date reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness. a reluctant witness loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking. seems loath to trust anyone averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance. averse to hard work not averse to an occasional drink

Loath vs. Loathe

Many usage commentators point out that the spelling of loath the adjective is distinct from loathe, the verb that means "to dislike greatly." Merriam-Webster dictionaries record loathe (along with loth) as a variant spelling for the adjective, at the same time indicating that the spelling with an e is not as common as the form without it. Both words hark back to Old English, and the e ending in each has come and gone over the centuries - but if you want to avoid the ire of those who like to keep the language tidy, stick with loath for the adjective and loathe for the verb.

Examples of loath in a Sentence

She was loath to admit her mistakes. I was loath to accept his claim of having climbed Mount Everest.

Recent Examples on the Web

For Microsoft the deal helps grow its cloud-computing business, which lags behind Amazon’s but has found willing customers like Kroger and Walmart, which are loath to line the pockets of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Dina Bass, The Seattle Times, "Kroger, Microsoft test futuristic grocery store in Redmond. Amazon, take note.," 7 Jan. 2019 Perhaps most importantly, the introduction of Stories seemed to galvanize a new spirit of experimentation at Instagram, which had generally been loath to tamper with its original photos-plus-filters format. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on winning the Stories war," 2 Aug. 2018 At the time, many federal agencies with cybersecurity functions, including the FBI and the NSA, were loath to give up their responsibilities. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: 'If you don’t have a brand, you’re not in the game.' New DHS cyber chief wants to rename his agency," 14 June 2018 Banks, which charge fixed fees for mortgage services, often can’t make a profit on these transactions and are loath to take part in these transactions. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How a Midwest startup generator bursts the Bay Area tech bubble and solves real problems," 12 Dec. 2018 Iran is loath to see an expansion of Turkish and U.S. influence in the region, and argues that the West fueled jihadis with past support for the Syrian opposition. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "Syria: Everyone else’s battleground, in both war and peace," 25 Sep. 2018 Like Facebook, Google is loath to declare any topic off-limits to its user base. Casey Newton, The Verge, "What YouTube could teach Facebook about conspiracies," 24 July 2018 In the past, the Trump administration has been loath to discuss security issues between the U.S. and China, reflecting a reluctance on the part of the U.S. government to publicly confront China on those issues. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "American Military Aircraft Targeted By Lasers in Pacific Ocean, U.S. Officials Say," 21 June 2018 But because the Kremlin is typically loath to be seen as bending to political pressure from demonstrators, it was widely assumed that the governor’s position was at least temporarily secure. Matthew Bodner, Washington Post, "In fallout from Russia mall fire, a longtime governor in Siberia resigns," 1 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'loath.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of loath

12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for loath

Middle English loth loathsome, from Old English lāth; akin to Old High German leid loathsome, Old Irish lius loathing

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about loath

Listen to Our Podcast about loath

Dictionary Entries near loath

loasa

Loasaceae

loasa family

loath

loathe

loathful

loathing

Statistics for loath

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loath

The first known use of loath was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for loath

loath

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of loath

: not wanting or willing to do something

loath

adjective
variants: also loth \ ˈlōth, ˈlōt͟h \

Kids Definition of loath

: not willing He was loath to admit mistakes.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on loath

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loath

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loath

Spanish Central: Translation of loath

Nglish: Translation of loath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loath for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loath

What made you want to look up loath? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!