I’ve given up on this one. Some things are worth campaigning about and I shall have on my gravestone the words ‘YOU’RE welcome to YOUR opinion.’ But so many people, even the highly educated, get this one wrong that I am now officially Giving Up. It is of course the many permutations of the word ‘loathe’.
OK let’s get this straight. There is no such word as ‘loath.’
There are two words, often confused with one another, whose meanings are interlinked but separate. They are these:
- ‘loathe’ – meaning to hate or despise.
Example: ‘I loathe the current government.’
2. ‘loth’ meaning reluctant.
Example: ‘I am very loth to criticise Germaine Greer but I can’t help noticing that in her recent book…’
Him indoors has just pointed out that the second, loth, is an impersonal construction, meaning ‘it is reluctant to me.’ Other examples are more outdated now, and only used comically, such as methinks and woe is me. Spouse informs me that he has a blog post on precisely this topic, but since he declines to tag any of his posts it’s doubtful we can find it.
I mean, honestly! Why would you not tag things?
‘What’s the point?’ he says.
‘So that you can find things,’ I retort. ‘Such as, now? I mean, QED!’
After a long search, we found it eventually:
I was quite proud of being able to use QED correctly there…