Monday, 29 August 2016

Loath vs. Loathe and Averse vs. Adverse

What a difference a letter makes.

from The Garden of the Hesperides by Frederic Leighton
Anoushka was loath to wake the sleeping basilisk.

Loath vs. Loathe


To loathe something is to despise it with every fibre of your being, to hate it with the fiery intensity of a thousand suns, to want to consign it to the lowest circle of hell. In short, to really, really not like it.

  • Felix says he loathes suburbia and everything it stands for.

While loathe is something you do, loath is something you are. It means “reluctant” or “unwilling.” To say you are loath to do something means you would really rather not, thank you very much.

  • Anoushka was loath to wake the sleeping basilisk.

Averse vs. Adverse


Averse means much the same thing as loath. If you’re averse to something, you don’t want to do it. You’d rather avoid it, or possibly push it away with a long stick. You have an aversion to it—a distaste, a dislike.

  • I’m not averse to the occasional prank, but flying monkeys in the cafeteria is taking things a bit too far.

Adverse comes from the same root as adversity, which means “hardship” or “misfortune” (as in “to struggle against adversity.”) Something that’s adverse is causing you harm or making your life difficult in some way.

  • The drug’s adverse effects include widespread hallucinations, carnivorous balloon animals, and bagpipe concerts.

devils playing musical instruments, from the Taymouth Hours
The drug’s adverse effects include widespread hallucinations, carnivorous balloon animals, and bagpipe concerts.

No comments:

Post a comment