\ ˈlōth How to pronounce loath (audio) , ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loath (audio) \
variants: or less commonly \ ˈlōth How to pronounce loath (audio) , ˈlōt͟h \ or loathe \ ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loath (audio) , ˈlōth \

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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Other Words from loath

loathness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for loath



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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 Soon to be ninety, Auerbach is known for working long hours in his studio every day and for being loath to move about London on any occasion, let alone travel outside the country. Sanford Schwartz, The New York Review of Books, "A Painter’s Performances," 23 Feb. 2021 Newsom has been loath to engage in any discussions regarding the recall. Ronn Blitzer, Fox News, "Newsom scrambles with recall effort hovering near signature threshold," 12 Feb. 2021 The annual task of vaccinating against new influenza strains tends to result in patchy coverage among middle-aged adults, many of whom are loath to show up at a doctor’s office or pharmacy. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Why Kids Matter in the Quest to Stamp Out Covid-19," 29 Jan. 2021 The buyers of murder houses are understandably loath to talk. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "Minnesota homes with star auras or dark histories hold a strange fascination," 29 Jan. 2021 President Trump, who has warm ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been loath to criticize the kingdom’s human rights record. Washington Post, "Saudi court sentences American citizen to six years in prison despite appeals from the U.S.," 8 Dec. 2020 Then in December, federal officials, loath to damage the economy still further, reassured the public that Mexico City had not reached the level of contagion that would require a full lockdown. Natalie Kitroeff, New York Times, "Mexico’s president is the latest world leader to become infected with the coronavirus.," 24 Jan. 2021 No wonder, then, studios are loath to offend Beijing. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "China vs US: A building threat," 22 Jan. 2021 States run their own elections, and Congress has been loath to interfere. Lisa Mascaro, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Trump says he’ll ‘fight like hell’ to hold on to presidency," 4 Jan. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for loath

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

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Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Loath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loath. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for loath



English Language Learners Definition of loath

: not wanting or willing to do something


variants: also loth \ ˈlōth , ˈlōt͟h \

Kids Definition of loath

: not willing He was loath to admit mistakes.

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More from Merriam-Webster on loath

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loath

Nglish: Translation of loath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loath for Arabic Speakers

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