Word Confusion: Loath versus Loathe

Posted April 3, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I am never loath in my loathing for poorly proofread stories. And don’cha just loathe self-righteous people like me?

One trick you might want to use with loath and loathe is to remember the a in the first stands for adjective while adding the e turns it into a verb.

Yep, this Word Confusion pair are heterographs.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Loath Loathe
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

A really HUGE, Fat black and white cat

“Save FatCat” is courtesy of iPetitions

FatCat was loath to exercise.


“Hagnaby Road, Old Bolingbroke” by Dave Hitchborne is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Love it or loathe it. Winter is inevitable.

Part of Grammar:

Alternative spelling: loth

Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: loathes
Past tense or past participle: loathed
Gerund or present participle: loathing


  • Unwilling
  • Disinclined
  • Averse
Feel intense dislike, hatred, or disgust for
I was loath to leave.

Henry was loath to admit his mistakes.

Then again, Henry was nothing loath to admire himself.

Tiffany was loth to get out of bed in the mornings.

She loathed him on sight.

Jeannie loathed her history professor.

Mary loathed Henry’s self-absorption.

I loathe people who stab others in the back.

Adjective: loathsome, overloath, unloath, unloathed
Adverb: loathly, unloathly
Noun: loather, loathing, loathness, lothness
History of the Word:
Old English lāth meaning hostile, spiteful is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch leed and the German Leid meaning sorrow. Old English lāthian is of Germanic origin and related to loath.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Grammar Bomb: LOATHE vs LOATH” by Billi Joy Carson is a post at the CC-BY XX.0 license, via The Editing Addict.