There are 2 main definitions of loaf in English:

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loaf1

Line breaks: loaf
Pronunciation: /ləʊf
 
/

noun (plural loaves /ləʊvz/)

1A quantity of bread that is shaped and baked in one piece and usually sliced before being eaten: a loaf of bread a granary loaf
More example sentences
  • Sooner rather than later, you really must bake a loaf of bread.
  • There is nothing as simple as baking a loaf of bread or a cake.
  • We spotted this curry chicken baked in a loaf of bread at a neighbouring table.
1.1An item of food formed into an oblong shape and sliced into portions.
Example sentences
  • She had her share of bad '70s health food - think soy loaf - but she was also exposed to a variety of foods at an early age.
  • Not content to have a nice big dish of holiday mushroom ravioli or lentil loaf, vegetarians seem curiously afflicted with a desire to conform to the season.
  • Garnished with fresh vegetables and a side of mashed potatoes, this loaf of pure C grade meat is the talk of the town.

Origin

Old English hlāf, of Germanic origin; related to German Laib.

More
  • Originally loaf meant ‘bread’ as well as ‘a shaped quantity of bread’. In the British expression to use your loaf, ‘use your common sense’, loaf probably comes from the rhyming slang phrase loaf of bread meaning ‘head’. It is first recorded in a 1920s dictionary of army and navy slang as ‘Loaf, head, e.g., Duck your loaf, i.e., keep your head below the parapet’. To loaf (mid 19th century) or spend time in an aimless, idle way is not connected with bread, but comes from loafer, which itself is probably based on German Landläufer ‘a tramp’, related to the word landlubber (early 18th century). See also bread, lady, lord

Phrases

half a loaf is better than no bread

1
proverb It is better to accept less than one wants or expects than to have nothing at all.
Example sentences
  • I said, ‘Well, half a loaf is better than no bread.’
  • As I've said, many people will not regard the recycling operation as the most ideal one for the ultra modern advance factory, but as the old saying goes, half a loaf is better than no bread.
  • Still half a loaf is better than no bread, although it is important that the managerial commitment to address this particular situation in 2003 is honoured.

use one's loaf

2
British informal Use one’s common sense.
[probably from loaf of bread, rhyming slang for 'head']
Example sentences
  • They used their loaf when they set up in business 41 years ago.
  • But we would urge people to use their loaf when parking and make sure they don't leave anything of value on display.
  • He said: ‘Farrell is a good player but he needs to start using his loaf a bit more, vary play and not feel he has a divine right to do everything.’

Words that rhyme with loaf

oaf

Definition of loaf in:

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There are 2 main definitions of loaf in English:

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loaf2

Line breaks: loaf
Pronunciation: /ləʊf
 
/

verb

[no object]
Spend one’s time in an aimless, idle way: don’t let him see you loafing about with your hands in your pockets
More example sentences
  • Had a busy week dealing with drunk rambling boyfriends (well… not plural, there was only one) celebrating St David's day and generally loafing about.
  • He is pragmatic about the idea of trendily shod herder kids loafing about the steppe.
  • Only about 20 others shared in this unique experience in the screening I attended, while outside in the mall where the cinema is located thousands were window - shopping or loafing about.
Synonyms
do nothing, take things easy, idle, be idle, shirk one's duties;
waste time, fritter away time, kill time, while away the time, twiddle one's thumbs, sit on one's hands, dawdle, dally
British informal hang about, mooch about/around
North American informal bum around

Origin

mid 19th century: probably a back-formation from loafer.

More
  • Originally loaf meant ‘bread’ as well as ‘a shaped quantity of bread’. In the British expression to use your loaf, ‘use your common sense’, loaf probably comes from the rhyming slang phrase loaf of bread meaning ‘head’. It is first recorded in a 1920s dictionary of army and navy slang as ‘Loaf, head, e.g., Duck your loaf, i.e., keep your head below the parapet’. To loaf (mid 19th century) or spend time in an aimless, idle way is not connected with bread, but comes from loafer, which itself is probably based on German Landläufer ‘a tramp’, related to the word landlubber (early 18th century). See also bread, lady, lord

Definition of loaf in:

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