adjective \ ˈlōth , ˈlōt͟h \
variants: or less commonly play \ˈlōth, ˈlōt͟h\ or loathe play \ˈlōt͟h, ˈlōth\
|Updated on: 16 Jul 2018

Definition of loath

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



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Examples of loath in a Sentence

  1. She was loath to admit her mistakes.

  2. I was loath to accept his claim of having climbed Mount Everest.

Recent Examples of loath from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of loath

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

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of loath for English Language Learners

  • : not wanting or willing to do something

LOATH Defined for Kids


variants: also loth \ˈlōth, ˈlōt͟h\

Definition of loath for Students

: not willing He was loath to admit mistakes.

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