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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English losel (also lorel), from *losen, loren, past participle of lesen (to lose), equivalent to lose +‎ -le.



losel (plural losels)

  1. (archaic) A worthless or despicable person, scoundrel.
    • c. 1503–1512, John Skelton, Ware the Hauke; republished in John Scattergood, editor, John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, 1983, →OCLC, lines 138–140, page 65:
      Dowtles such losels
      Make the churche to be
      In smale auctoryte; []
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book II, Canto III”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
      The whiles a losell wandring by the way, / One that to bountie neuer cast his mind, / Ne thought of honour euer did assay [] .
    • c. 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Winters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      And, losel, thou art worthy to be hang'd.
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “III, The One Institution”, in Past and Present, American edition, Boston, Mass.: Charles C[offin] Little and James Brown, published 1843, →OCLC, book IV (Horoscope):
      These thousand straight-standing firm-set individuals, who shoulder arms, who march, wheel, advance, retreat; and are, for your behoof, a magazine charged with fiery death, in the most perfect condition of potential activity: few months ago, till the persuasive sergeant came, what were they? Multiform ragged losels, runaway apprentices, starved weavers, thievish valets []
    • 1954, Philip Larkin, Toads:
      Lots of folk live on their wits: / Lecturers, lispers, / Losels, loblolly-men, louts— / They don't end up as paupers; […]
    • 1964, Anthony Burgess, The Eve of St Venus:
      ‘Come on, you losel,’ he said to Spatchcock, ‘you privy calligrapher, you. You can carry his bottles. I’ll carry him.’


Derived terms[edit]


losel (comparative more losel, superlative most losel)

  1. Worthless; wasteful.