See also: loop hole
From Middle English loupe (“opening in a wall”) + hole, from a Germanic source. Compare Medieval Latin loupa, lobia and Middle Dutch lupen (“to watch”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈluːphəʊl/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈluphoʊl/
- Rhymes: -uːphəʊl
- Hyphenation: loop‧hole
loophole (plural loopholes)
- (historical) A slit in a castle wall; today, any similar window for shooting a ranged weapon or letting in light. Also written loop hole.
- 1719 May 6 (Gregorian calendar), [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], 3rd edition, London: […] W[illiam] Taylor […], published 1719, →OCLC:
- […] and having a fair loophole, as it were, from a broken hole in the tree, he took a sure aim, without being seen, waiting till they were within about thirty yards of the tree, so that he could not miss.
- 1809, Maria Edgeworth, The Absentee:
- There was a loophole in this wall, to let the light in, just at the height of a person's head, who was sitting near the chimney.
- 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, page 25:
- The sun had shifted round, and the myriad windows of the Ministry of Truth, with the light no longer shining on them, looked grim as the loopholes of a fortress.
- (figuratively) A method of escape, especially an ambiguity or exception in a rule or law that can be exploited in order to avoid its effect.
- 1838, Charles Dickens, chapter 49, in Oliver Twist, page 236:
- Coupling the poor girl's intelligence with my previous knowledge, and the result of our good friend's inquiries on the spot, I left him no loophole of escape, and laid bare the whole villany which by these lights became plain as day.
- 2002, Marc Lawrence, Two Weeks Notice:
- You have a contract that says you will work until Island Towers is finalized, which I interpret as completion of construction, or I can stop you working elsewhere. And there's no loopholes, because you drafted it and you're the best.
- 2013 February 9, Barack Obama, The Support They Need:
- They would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.
slit in a castle wall
method of escape
loophole (third-person singular simple present loopholes, present participle loopholing, simple past and past participle loopholed)
- (military, transitive) To prepare a building for defense by preparing slits or holes through which to fire on attackers
- 1896, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Exploits Of Brigadier Gerard:
- The lower windows were barricaded, and the whole building loopholed for musketry fire.
- 1907, A. E. W. Mason, The Broken Road:
- The doors were barricaded, the shutters closed upon the windows and loopholed, and provisions were brought in from the outhouses.
- 1915, W. H. L. Watson, Adventures of a Despatch Rider:
- The Germans were loopholing it for defence.
- (transitive) To exploit (a law, etc.) by means of loopholes.
- 1988, Macabee Dean, The Ashmadai Solution: A Surrealistic Extrapolation of a Gentle Genocide:
- Abroad they had developed loopholing the law into an art; in Israel they jettisoned loopholing for ignoring the law wherever possible. Obeying laws was for naive fools.
- 2005, Deborah Rhode; David Luban, Legal Ethics Stories:
- De-moralizing the subject can be, quite simply, demoralizing, as stirring statements of ideals turn into persnickety rules with exceptions crying out to be loopholed.
- loophole at OneLook Dictionary Search
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “loophole”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
- loophole on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- loophole (firearm) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia