\ ˈlōth How to pronounce loath (audio) , ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loath (audio) \
variants: or less commonly \ ˈlōth How to pronounce loth (audio) , ˈlōt͟h \ or loathe \ ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loathe (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 While reformers have sought to win over the civil-rights community, leaders in that community have proven loath to abandon longstanding relationships with the Democratic establishment and its symbiotic partners in the unions. Jay P. Greene, National Review, "America’s Students Flounder while Education Reformers Virtue Signal," 5 Nov. 2019 Apple, loath to be outdone by Google, has been hyping AR capabilities via the iPhone and iPad, though not directly in its camera. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Google Lens, Augmented Reality, and the Future of Learning," 20 Aug. 2019 And finally, as someone who backs a particular candidate, what is the wisest practical attitude to have about these probabilities? Quanta readers seemed loath to attack this question head on. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Which Forecasts Are True?’," 26 Oct. 2016 Still, while Democrats might be loath to acknowledge it publicly, a clear subtext of the trial was the opportunity to portray Mr. Trump as unfit for office, and indeed dangerous. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "Few G.O.P. Senators Display Any Hint of Being Swayed by Democrats’ Arguments," 24 Jan. 2020 And McConnell had never promised to bring up surprise billing legislation for a vote and is loath to take up legislation that splits his party. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, "Congress showers health care industry with multi-billion victory after wagging finger at it for much of 2019," 20 Dec. 2019 Crossovers may be major profit contributors, but rival premium and luxury brands lacking the SUV pedigree of a Land Rover were loath to embrace the shift away from saloons due to the stigma attached. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Aston Martin May Need a Lifeline From Investors as It Runs Precariously Low on Cash," 7 Jan. 2020 However, the construct of a trade would have to send Ivica Zubac to the Suns for Baynes, and the Clippers might be loath to part with their young center who is under contract for three more years for a one-year rental. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Aron Baynes trade rumor between Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers prompts questions," 2 Jan. 2020 Studios are loath to risk the embarrassment of a flop, and streamers are more than happy to use such content to draw subscribers. al, "Box office is down in 2019 despite ‘The Rise of Skywalker.’ That’s not what’s worrying theaters most," 22 Dec. 2019

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

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Loath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loath?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=l&file=loath002. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for loath


How to pronounce loath (audio) How to pronounce loath (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loath

Spanish Central: Translation of loath

Nglish: Translation of loath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loath for Arabic Speakers

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