Middle English lothe, from Old English lāþian, from Proto-Germanic *laiþōną. Cognate with Old Norse leiðask ( > Danish ledes, Icelandic leiðast, all reflexive), German Leid.



loathe (third-person singular simple present loathes, present participle loathing, simple past and past participle loathed)

  1. (transitive) To detest, hate, revile.
    Synonyms: abhor, abominate, despise
    I loathe scrubbing toilets.
    I absolutely loathe this place.
    • (Can we date this quote by Cowley and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Loathing the honeyed cakes, I longed for bread.
    • 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: []”, in The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...], London: [] Robert Waley, OCLC 837515946; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], OCLC 706027473, page 20:
      To Scriptures read they muſt their leaſure frame, / Then loath they will both luſt and wanton love; []
    • 1736, Andrew Gray, “Sermon VI. Acts xxvi. 18. [...]”, in Great and Precious Promises: or, Some Sermons Concerning the Promises, and the Right Application thereof. [], Glasgow: Printed by William Duncan, [], OCLC 777978355, page 115:
      [] O Hypocrites! ye hope for Enjoyment of Chriſt, but be perſwaded of it, Chriſt ſhall eternally loath you, and ye ſhall eternally loath Chriſt: []
    • 1850, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Sonnet XXXII”, in Sonnets from the Portuguese:
      Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe
    • 2003 October 13, The New Yorker:
      This movie is a historical achievement: Clint Eastwood, an icon of violence, has made us loathe violence as an obscenity. “Mystic River” hurts the way sad stories always hurt, but the craft and love with which it has been made transfigure pain into a moviegoer’s rapture

Usage notesEdit

Not to be confused with the related adjective loath.

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