Loath or Loathe?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Loath" and "Loathe"?

"Loath" and "Loathe" are easy to confuse because they both describe negativity towards something.
  • "Loath" means "unwilling."
    • He is loath to take a bath. correct tick
    • ("Loath" is followed by "to." It rhymes with "both.")
  • "Loathe" means "to hate."
    • Dexter loathes bath night. correct tick
    • ("Loathe" is not followed by "to." It rhymes with "betroth.")
Listen to how "loath" and "loathe" are pronounced:
loath or loathe?

More about Loath and Loathe

Writers occasionally confuse "loath" and "loathe." Their meanings are related as they both relate to not liking something.


"Loathe" is a verb meaning "to hate." In fact, many consider it even stronger than "to hate."  It can also be translated as "to hate intensely."

Example sentences with "loathe":
  • She will eat just about anything, but she loathes celery. correct tick
  • I loved the Army as an institution and loathed every single thing it required me to do. correct tick


Loath is an adjective meaning "unwilling."

Example sentences with "loath":
  • She is loath to join because her friends play for a rival team. correct tick
  • Magazines and newspapers are loath to discuss these types of deals publicly. correct tick
  • At daybreak, when loathe to rise, have this thought in thy mind: I am rising for a man's work. wrong cross
  • (This should be "loath.")

Top Tip

  • "Loath" is always followed by "to."
  • "Loathe" is never followed by "to."

Confusion Also Occurs in Speech

People confuse "loath" and "loathe" even when talking. This will help:
  • "Loath" ends in a hard "th" sound. It rhymes with "oath" or "both."
  • "Loathe" ends in a soft "th" sound. It rhymes with "betroth."

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? How to improve your English spelling List of easily confused words

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