From Middle Dutch loet, loete ("scoop, shovel, scraper"; > Modern Dutch loet), from Old Dutch *lōta, from Old Frankish *lōtija (“scoop, ladle”), from Proto-Germanic *hlōþþijō (“ladle”), from Proto-Indo-European *kleh₂- (“to lay down, deposit, overlay”). Cognate with Scots lute, luyt (“scoop, ladle”), West Frisian loete, lete, Middle Low German lōte (“rake”), French louche ("ladle"; < Germanic). Related to lade, ladle.
loot (plural loots)
- (Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) A kind of scoop or ladle, chiefly used to remove the scum from brine-pans in saltworks.
Attested 1788, a loan from Hindustani लूट (lūṭ)/لوٹ (lūṭ, “spoil, booty”), from Sanskrit लुण्ट (luṇṭ, “to rob, plunder”). The verb is from 1842. Fallows (1885) records both the noun and the verb as "Recent. Anglo-Indian".
In origin only applicable to plundering in warfare.
A figurative meaning developed in American English in the 1920s, resulting in a generalized meaning by the 1950s.
- The act of plundering.
- the loot of an ancient city
- plunder, booty, especially from a ransacked city.
- (colloquial, US) any prize or profit received for free, especially Christmas presents
- 1956 "Free Loot for Children" (LIFE Magazine, 23 April 1956, p. 131)
- (video games) Items dropped from defeated enemies in video games and online games.
- To steal, especially as part of war, riot or other group violence.
- to loot valuables from a temple
- 1833 "Gunganarian, the leader of the Chooars, continues his system of looting and murder", The asiatic Journal and monthly register for British India and its Dependencies Black, Parbury & Allen, p. 66.
- To steal from.
- to loot a temple for valuables
- (video games) to examine the corpse of a fallen enemy for loot.
- Samuel Fallows, The progressive dictionary of the English language: a supplementary wordbook to all leading dictionaries of the United States and Great Britain (1885).