Loath or Loathe?

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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This page was written by Craig Shrives.