1 of 2


: goods usually of considerable value taken in war : spoils
The soldiers helped themselves to any loot that they could find.
: something held to resemble goods of value seized in war: such as
: something appropriated illegally often by force or violence
the thieves' loot
: illicit gains by public officials
: money
would not … spend all that loot on herLangston Hughes
: the action of looting
general loot of church landHilaire Belloc


2 of 2


looted; looting; loots

transitive verb

: to plunder or sack in war
: to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption
: to seize and carry away by force especially in war

intransitive verb

: to engage in robbing or plundering especially in war
looter noun
Choose the Right Synonym for loot

spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot mean something taken from another by force or craft.

spoil, more commonly spoils, applies to what belongs by right or custom to the victor in war or political contest.

the spoils of political victory

plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling.

a bootlegger's plunder

booty implies plunder to be shared among confederates.

thieves dividing up their booty

prize applies to spoils captured on the high seas or territorial waters of the enemy.

the wartime right of seizing prizes at sea

loot applies especially to what is taken from victims of a catastrophe.

picked through the ruins for loot

Examples of loot in a Sentence

Noun After raiding the town, the soldiers helped themselves to any loot that they could find. The thieves got a lot of loot in the robbery. He made a lot of loot selling cars. Verb The soldiers were looting every house that they came to. Soldiers swept through the territory, looting, burning, and killing.
Recent Examples on the Web
Abiy had deployed Amhara militia, known as the Fano, to fight in Tigray, with promises of land, loot, and positions of power. Alex De Waal, Foreign Affairs, 8 Apr. 2024 Others preferred spending their loot in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Sean Kingsley, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for loot 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'loot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Hindi & Urdu lūṭ; akin to Sanskrit luṇṭati he plunders

First Known Use


circa 1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1845, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of loot was circa 1788

Dictionary Entries Near loot

Cite this Entry

“Loot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loot. Accessed 17 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: something stolen or taken by force


2 of 2 verb
looter noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to rob especially during or following a catastrophe (as war, riot, or natural disaster)
: to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption

intransitive verb

: to engage in robbing especially after a catastrophe
looter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on loot

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