Printable Version
Pronunciation: lodh Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To abhor, to detest greatly, to find something immensely disgusting.

Notes: Today's word represents a spelling pitfall we should beware of. While this verb ends with an E, the adjective from it, loath [loth], does not. In fact, this adjective no longer shares the meaning of the verb but rather means "hesitant, reluctant", as in "I would be loath to even associate this word with the verb loathe." Another difference to note: omitting the A in loath is now accepted by most dictionaries. However, I would be loath to spell it that way.

In Play: Whenever the repulsion you feel for something goes way beyond mere hatred, call on today's Good Word: "I loathe broccoli with cheese topping; in fact, I'm loath to eat vegetables in general." The noun from today's Good Word is loathing: "Her loathing of the sinful life of Las Vegas nauseated Prudence Pender to the point that she had to be ambulanced to the emergency room."

Word History: In Old English today's Good Word was spelled lath and meant "hateful, disgusting". It came through Old Germanic from an even earlier form of leit- "to detest", developing ultimately into German Leid "sorrow". The Old English strength of feeling has been preserved in loathe, while a Middle English moderation of the meaning is evident in loath. Both trace their origin to Proto-Indo-European *leit- "to detest", which has mutated in other languages to give both the French laid "ugly," and the German Leid "sorrow." (I would be loath to omit expressing our gratitude to Jan Alps of Greensboro, North Carolina, for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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