\ ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loathe (audio) \
loathed; loathing

Definition of loathe

transitive verb

: to dislike greatly and often with disgust or intolerance : detest

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Other Words from loathe

loather noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for loathe



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Choose the Right Synonym for loathe

hate, detest, abhor, abominate, loathe mean to feel strong aversion or intense dislike for. hate implies an emotional aversion often coupled with enmity or malice. hated the enemy with a passion detest suggests violent antipathy. detests cowards abhor implies a deep often shuddering repugnance. a crime abhorred by all abominate suggests strong detestation and often moral condemnation. abominates all forms of violence loathe implies utter disgust and intolerance. loathed the mere sight of them

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 loathe in a Sentence

In fact, he was an energetic walker his whole life, but he loathed fresh-air fiends and he was rather stuck on the idea of being dissolute. — Paul Theroux, New York Times Book Review, 21 Apr. 1991 How I loathed the look of that type on my pages! Everything I wrote seemed, in that type, arrhythmic, dull, stupid. — Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether, 1983 I loathed the job so much that I did it quickly, urgently, almost violently. — W. P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe, 1982 Pushing the table from him while he spoke, as though he loathed the sight of food, he encountered the watch: the hands of which were almost upon noon. — Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, 1839 They were rivals who truly loathed each other. I loathe having to do this. It was a habit his wife loathed.
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Recent Examples on the Web Love them for their small paws and big ears, or loathe them for their habit of wreaking havoc on gardens, the number of rabbits in the Seattle area has grown in the past few years. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Notice a bunny boom? Here are some reasons for the Seattle area’s recent rise in rabbits," 19 July 2019 Anecdotal evidence that some people are disposed to adore pets, whereas others fear or loathe them, has been borne out by studies. The Economist, "Pet-ownership is booming across the world," 22 June 2019 There’s a reason Christmas is a boon for entertainers who both love and loathe it, as many of us do. John Wenzel, The Know, "Amid the barrage of Christmas entertainment, holiday drag shows offer a different kind of Yuletide cheer," 15 Dec. 2019 Republicans loathed Democratic President Andrew Johnson, and in a partisan vote, moved to impeach him. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Democratic House impeachment of Donald Trump no profile in courage," 20 Dec. 2019 The same might be said for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who like Eleanor Roosevelt is both loved and loathed, but by any measure a gutsy woman. CBS News, "Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton on "Gutsy Women" and Trump," 29 Sep. 2019 Dan loathes the concept of women being able to make decisions about their own bodies, to an extent as extreme as presently exists in America. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Two Dans, Two Elections, and No Winners," 10 Sep. 2019 They are remembered because Americans always command attention, whether they are loved or loathed. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: The USWNT had better win the World Cup or legacy will be that of celebration flap," 21 June 2019 Kapler’s team was called lifeless at crucial moments, and the manager reportedly was disliked by players and staff and loathed by fans. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Giants are linked to Gabe Kapler in manager search. That’s a problem," 22 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'loathe.' 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 loathe

12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for loathe

Middle English lothen, from Old English lāthian to dislike, be hateful, from lāth

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Time Traveler for loathe

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for loathe

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Loathe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loathe. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for loathe


How to pronounce loathe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of loathe

: to hate (someone or something) very much


\ ˈlōt͟h How to pronounce loathe (audio) \
loathed; loathing

Kids Definition of loathe

: to dislike greatly

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More from Merriam-Webster on loathe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loathe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loathe

Spanish Central: Translation of loathe

Nglish: Translation of loathe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loathe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loathe

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showing steady, earnest care and effort

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