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Middle English lothe, from Old English lāþian, from Proto-West Germanic *laiþēn, from Proto-Germanic *laiþāną. 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, or revile (someone or something).
    Synonyms: abhor, abominate, despise
    I loathe scrubbing toilets.
    I absolutely loathe this place.
    • a. 1667, Abraham Cowley, Of Agriculture:
      Loathing the honeyed cakes, I long for bread.
    • 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: []”, in The Rocke of Regard, [], London: [] [H. Middleton] for Robert Waley, →OCLC; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, [] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], →OCLC, 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, 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
  2. (obsolete) To induce or inspire disgust (in a person)

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Not to be confused with the related adjective loath.

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