Definition of loophole in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈlo͞opˌ(h)ōl/


1An ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules: they exploited tax loopholes
More example sentences
  • Consumer groups last night accused the industry of hiding crucial exclusion clauses amid pages of legalese, and warned that insurers were increasingly likely to exploit loopholes and ambiguity in the small print.
  • He is still entitled to pick up £192 for each day he signs in, plus first-class travel for himself and his wife to their home in Argyllshire, by exploiting a loophole in the expenses rules.
  • And it's not enough just to denounce corporations that exploit tax loopholes; the real answer is to deny them the opportunity.
2 historical An arrow slit in a wall.
Example sentences
  • Domestic buildings in the right place could be fortified by having their walls pierced by loopholes, their floors either removed or strengthened, and their doors and windows blocked.
  • It looked more like a castle than a railhead, with solid stone walls pierced by tiny loopholes.
  • Like the police checkposts en route, most farmsteads are fortified with high walls and loopholes.


[with object]
Make arrow slits in (a wall or building).
Example sentences
  • The other bank of the stream was open ground - a gentle slope topped with a stockade of vertical tree trunks, loopholed for rifles, with a single embrasure through which protruded the muzzle of a brass cannon commanding the bridge.
  • The Officers Mess, constructed of sandstone and with a distinctive loopholed wall for defensive purposes, is a particularly fine example of late nineteenth century defence design and building.
  • The troops could not immediately and effectually reply to this fire, for their opponents were hidden behind the loopholed wall.


Late 16th century (denoting an arrow slit): from obsolete loop 'embrasure' + hole.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: loop·hole

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.