Wednesday, December 24, 2008

loathe; loath; loth

From Garner's Usage Tip of the Day

loathe; loath; loth.
"Loathe" (rhymes with "clothe") is the verb meaning "to abhor, detest."
"Loath" (rhymes with "oath"), with its needless variant "loth," is an adjective meaning "reluctant." The verb spelling is often wrongly used for the adjective -- e.g.:
o "If you are at a dinner, sitting at the head table, you may be loathe [read 'loath'] to stand up and walk away because you are on display up there." Charles Osgood, Osgood on Speaking 80-81 (1988).
o "Even young fans, usually loathe [read 'loath'] to adopt the musical tastes of their parents, are bewildered." Edna Gundersen, "Pink Floyd's Retrogressive Progression," USA Today, 25 Apr. 1994.
o "And, although the would-be cheerleader from San Antonio is loathe [read 'loath'] to brag about it, she has created her own case for being selected." Amy Hettenhausen, "3 Cheers for Sance," Austin Am.-Statesman, 16 Nov. 1995.


Hilgil said...

Loth seems to be far from a "needless variant". Surely the different spelling lessens the likelihood of of dropping an illiterate clanger...

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