Definition of loop in English:



  • 1A shape produced by a curve that bends round and crosses itself.

    ‘make a loop in the twine’
    • ‘Rounds, loops, and crescents, she recalled Elgeran speaking of them once or twice.’
    • ‘The Western trumpet is built in the traditional shape of one long loop.’
    • ‘It's got a sun dial design on the front and this cross with a loop on the back.’
    • ‘Hysteresis loop shape has been widely used to characterize magnetic properties.’
    • ‘The work of coding these interfaces involves making loops, splicing loops together, and nesting loops within loops.’
    • ‘As it tended to dry quickly, it was pinned up in intricate crosses and loops.’
    • ‘For heating, I thought I'd get some rubber tubing and lay it in loops round the clumps of herbs.’
    • ‘The shape of the loop seems simple but in fact it is not.’
    • ‘I laughed at her comical expression and threw her a bright red sweater with funny loops and dots all over it.’
    • ‘Tattooed on his right arm were vines that wrapped twice around in a figure-eight with a punctured heart centered in the top loop and the dollar emblem emblazoned on the bottom.’
    • ‘They move at the same speed running in big loops round and round with little or no hope of either getting open and or scoring.’
    • ‘Such a disciplined-line differs markedly from the vibrant curves, loops, and swirls found on the earlier landscape drawings.’
    • ‘Actually the Egyptian cross known as the Ankh is the cross with a loop at the top which is the symbol for the Nile river.’
    • ‘A loop is not a circle for it lacks symmetry, and moreover, it can have several centers.’
    • ‘Play with the loop until the desired shape is accomplished’
    • ‘Sitting in the middle of his mantelpiece was an object of gold, about eight inches tall and six wide, shaped like a cross with a loop at the top.’
    • ‘On the back, the design looked like a cross with a loop on top.’
    • ‘The example shown above can be drawn with a single loop.’
    • ‘This suggests an unconstrained loop shape, even in rather immature specimens of this form.’
    • ‘Curve the ends around to make an oval loop, a circle wreath, or even bend it a bit to make a heart shape.’
    bend, curve, kink, arc
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    1. 1.1A length of thread, rope, or similar material, doubled or crossing itself, used as a fastening or handle.
      ‘a loop of rope tied round their wrists’
      • ‘Looser fitting dresses fell from square dungaree-style tops, held up with shoulder straps which roped through little loops along the neckline.’
      • ‘To construct Pieranski's knot, you fold a circular loop of rope and tie two multiple overhand knots in it.’
      • ‘He shooed the young steer out of his way, and back, onto firmer ground, and then spun the loop of the rope lazily, letting it swing out in an arc and settle squarely over the cow's horns.’
      • ‘Heloise held up her key ring, showing Hank the house key that was threaded on a separate loop.’
      • ‘The turban was wound so that a loop of material hanging below the chin could be pulled up to cover the face.’
      • ‘The sling is simply a piece of material held as a loop in the hand.’
      • ‘He began to tie a single rope with loops, weaving it in and out of itself until it was bulky and thick; looking like it consisted of three or four ropes.’
      • ‘He's holding one of the loops of the rope around the winding mechanism.’
      • ‘Tie knots at the vertices and stretch the thread into a simple loop.’
      • ‘It simply consists of a steel hook and a piece of rope with a loop on the end.’
      • ‘I started feeling stupid and rather ashamed for getting myself in this idiotic situation - clinging tight to a swinging loop of rope too scared to carry on.’
      • ‘They knew what I was about to suggest: tie the short rope permanently to our dead tree, put a loop in the end, and hang the long ropes through the loop.’
      • ‘They dropped a rope with a loop into the pit, and asked the boy to insert his hands into it.’
      • ‘Sew a decorative button or bead on one end and create a thread loop covered with yarn buttonhole stitches on the opposite end.’
      • ‘She nodded and slid the black loop with the rope off her waist.’
      • ‘It was a process a bit like tying a granny knot: twisting one edge of the sausage rope into a loop, then threading the other end through, looping it, and twisting again.’
      • ‘Thread the wire loop through the top corner eyelets and attach a necklace cord.’
      • ‘He tied a sturdy knot pulling the rope into a loop and then checked to make sure it was secure.’
      • ‘One loop of rope had slipped off her right wrist.’
      • ‘When using my sewing machine, large loops and tangles of thread are generated on the bottom side of the fabric.’
      coil, hoop, ring, circle, noose, oval, spiral, curl, twirl, whorl, twist, hook, zigzag, helix, convolution, incurvation
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    2. 1.2A curved stroke forming part of a letter (e.g. b, p).
      • ‘She intently studied his penmanship, admiring the elegant arches, careless flicks, and long loops of his letters.’
      • ‘The letters swooped across the page with graceful loops.’
      • ‘For other combinations of a and b, the closed curve either is dimpled or has a loop.’
      • ‘He had previously shown her how to recognise his genuine signature, identifiable from dots placed within certain loops.’
      • ‘In three of the signatures, Shakespeare places an ornamental dot within the final loop of the ‘W’.’
    3. 1.3British A length of railway track which is connected at either end to the main line and on to which trains can be diverted to allow others to pass.
      • ‘Rail users and politicians have reacted with fury to the news that trains are being cut to increase reliability on the Oldham-Rochdale loop line.’
      • ‘But the London to Birmingham railway bypassed it in 1838, and a loop line to Birmingham was only established in 1872.’
      • ‘A Network Rail spokeswoman said one wagon in the middle section of the train derailed on a freight loop line, knocking the front of the train onto the main line and damaging a set of points.’
      • ‘Plans to build a loop line so more than one train could use the branch, longer platforms and a bridge at Freeport have been shunted aside indefinitely by the Government's Strategic Rail Authority in a financial freeze.’
      • ‘The blazing timber yard, which is close to a main train line, brought services on the Tilbury loop line to halt as the line was closed for safety reasons.’
    4. 1.4British A stretch of road that diverges from a main road and joins it again.
      • ‘A loop road would allow buses to service Monks Cross shopping and employment sites, as well as shuttle passengers to and from the city centre.’
      • ‘I took the loop road around the perimeter down to the Laundry pond.’
      • ‘The open space is popular with neighborhood residents, who climb the red-earth paths and jog on the loop road with their dogs.’
      • ‘The Ivy Lane loop road will close for up to 10 weeks from Monday, with a one-way system imposed until work is completed.’
      • ‘The front entrance which is equivalent to the second floor is joined by a circular drive to the loop road, at an elevation of approximately 91.4 m.’
    5. 1.5A manoeuvre in which an aircraft describes a vertical circle in the air.
      • ‘As he watched, the airplane performed two complete loops then one horizontal roll, and then another roll while coming toward him from south to north.’
      • ‘As he flew, Keith smiled to himself and doubled back in a loop-the-loop and flew back the way he had come.’
      • ‘Barrel rolls, loops and dives featured as the three aircraft wheeled gracefully over the expanse of Sydney Harbour.’
      • ‘They got to the 9m stop and started doing loop-the-loops and vertical figure-eights between the bars.’
      • ‘At 10,000 feet I told him I was going to try a loop.’
      • ‘Steep turns, loops, barrel rolls and wing-overs are easy and fun and slow rolls are heavy and a bit cumbersome but still great fun.’
      • ‘Of course doing two loop-the-loops one after the other probably helped.’
      • ‘He ended his 30-minute flight with a loop-the-loop and a string of victory rolls.’
      • ‘The loops, bends and corkscrews, always performed in perfect formation, are a spectacular sight.’
      • ‘The only time he got very upset with me was when he demonstrated loops and slow rolls.’
      • ‘A pilot fell out of his glider during a loop-the-loop because he'd forgotten to fasten his seatbelt.’
      • ‘I haven't actually seen them doing loop-the-loops yet, but I'm sure it won't be long.’
      • ‘I did the loop-the-loop in an Apache jet at last year's airshow so I suppose this is just taking one step further.’
      • ‘The technique was pretty much the same as in a Phoenix, although he had to remember that he couldn't do manoeuvres like a loop-the-loop.’
      • ‘He wrote: ‘Soaring through the skies, doing the loop-the-loop would be my idea of heaven.’’
      • ‘The most popular one is the three-day course, where pilots start off learning basic handling and aerobatic maneuvers like loops and rolls.’
      • ‘I did some snap rolls, a few slow rolls and a loop.’
      • ‘When not doing air shows, she can be found back at the air club, teaching everything from loops and snap rolls to instrument approaches.’
      • ‘They were performing stunts in the air from barrel rolls, to loops.’
      • ‘I did a couple of loops, barrel rolls, and my favorite, a vertical snap roll.’
    6. 1.6Skating A manoeuvre describing a curve that crosses itself, made on a single edge.
      • ‘The team went on to complete a high double twist, a throw triple loop, side-by-side triple toeloops, and a throw triple Salchow.’
      • ‘He did land triple axel/triple toe, another triple axel, and triple salchow, loop and lutz.’
      • ‘She went on to land a triple loop, two triple flips, a triple Salchow, and a triple toeloop-double Axel sequence.’
      • ‘He landed his first triple, a salchow, when he was 14, then landed a triple toe loop two days later and a triple loop two days after that.’
      • ‘She tried triple lutz/triple loop, but just missed on the second jump and fell.’
  • 2A structure, series, or process, the end of which is connected to the beginning.

    ‘a feedback loop’
    • ‘Certain things can stagnate and get stuck in endless loops.’
    • ‘The problem is that I've run into this dilemma before and now it seems that I'm stuck in an endless loop.’
    • ‘In bringing local communities into the decision making loop, the research process itself nurtures those ties.’
    • ‘Yet the event loop can amplify it into a cascade of thousands of events because it sets other loops in process.’
    • ‘All successful businesses have feedback loops.’
    • ‘Processing the same loop in different ways, for different sections of a song, can also help to keep things interesting.’
    • ‘The method would return to the beginning of the selection loop and scrutinize any job that was unfilled.’
    • ‘The idea of a cyclical universe is controversial but a leading researcher believes we really could be stuck in a never-ending loop.’
    • ‘During their lifetime, the crows carry out the inner loop of the adaptation process.’
    • ‘There appears to be a feedback loop linking the intensification of agriculture, the acquisition of wealth, and the emergence of hierarchy.’
    • ‘Having small, achievable goals creates a positive feedback loop that nurtures your resolve.’
    • ‘A feedback loop for weight loss has been postulated to explain why patients can generally lose only 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.’
    • ‘However, each time a device is added or removed from the loop, the discovery process must occur again.’
    • ‘They're locked in a feedback loop, a tangled form of denial.’
    • ‘It's just an endless loop of anxiety building up and then ebbing away.’
    1. 2.1An endless strip of tape or film allowing continuous repetition.
      • ‘There are fading red chrysanthemums in a vase, a red fish swimming in a bowl, a video monitor with a continuous loop of these many red things and more.’
      • ‘There have been between five and eight people reviewing two ten second loops of tape almost continuously for two days.’
      • ‘It's like watching a short film on endless loop.’
      • ‘Many of the songs sound like rehashed versions of oldies while the band also indulges in experiments with tape loops and minimalist restrictions.’
      • ‘It's an endless loop of videos interspersed with adverts.’
      • ‘As part of an exhibit about the Jewish holocaust, the museum had a Nazi propaganda film going on continuous loop.’
      • ‘He would record it on a cassette, then copy it and copy it, making in effect multiple tape loops.’
      • ‘The protagonist's state of mind is manifested through extreme film loops and continually recurring sound motifs.’
      • ‘The film itself is on a continuous loop that makes it difficult to tell beginning from end.’
      • ‘These programs ranged from short, silent video loops to interactive computer stations.’
      • ‘Tape loops, samples, piano and the odd vibraphone take these songs away from the usual acoustic fare in favour of quirkier, yet still emotional, folk pop.’
      • ‘Machine noises, tape loops, squeals, screams and almighty levels of static all covered every second of their music.’
      • ‘The menu is a continuous loop of a deleted scene from the film.’
      • ‘They were playing HDTV loops of saturated colored landscapes and the entire room would change color every few seconds, from all the backlights.’
      • ‘In a tape loop in the living-room installation, she projects the image of an old television on two kitschy landscapes.’
      • ‘The video, shown as a continuous loop, begins quietly.’
    2. 2.2A complete circuit for an electric current.
      • ‘The circuit includes a feedback loop that adjusts the output signal so that the lower voltages are chopped at a reference voltage input into the driver.’
      • ‘In the current simulations the external loops remain unstructured under all conditions examined.’
      • ‘Solenoids also supply voltage to the glow coil and are part of the electrical loop.’
      • ‘When you pick up a handset it generates a loop current in the circuit.’
      • ‘When any charged particle is rotating, it behaves like a current loop with a magnetic moment.’
    3. 2.3Computing A programmed sequence of instructions that is repeated until or while a particular condition is satisfied.
      • ‘With the exception of the HD demo loops, all programming is identical.’
      • ‘The core of the proposed data analysis methodology consists of iterating an elementary loop of model building until a satisfactory result is obtained.’
      • ‘As we saw last month, intelligent use of custom actions means creating our own mini-language, with its own loops, conditionals and variables.’
      • ‘One last tip I'd like to offer is using loops from the command line.’
      • ‘Since programs often execute the same loops and subroutines over and over, the translation cache is very effective.’


  • 1 Form (something) into a loop or loops; encircle.

    ‘she looped her arms around his neck’
    • ‘Most looped around, and connected to the main road higher up.’
    • ‘Brian shows me how to tie my fly, twisting the line four times then looping it back through.’
    • ‘Once he had finished them off, he summoned the waitress, looped his forefinger in the air and said, ‘Do it again.’’
    • ‘I kept looping her arms around my neck as I said ‘arms around the neck - this is how you hug!’’
    • ‘For two weeks the shuttle had been looping the globe to the obliviousness of the vast majority of the world's population, which was largely preoccupied with the fate of Iraq.’
    • ‘Another important point - always loop the camera strap around your neck.’
    • ‘Syd laughed and walked over to me then looped her arms around my neck.’
    • ‘One thing I like is the location of the hole to loop the carry strap.’
    • ‘They climbed the wall and hooked themselves in position by looping ropes around some of the jagged metal twists.’
    • ‘Isabella laughed as she sprayed on her perfume then looped her arm through mine.’
    • ‘I shook off the arm the guy in question had looped around my waist.’
    • ‘Raymond sat in a chair, stripped to only swim trunks and a towel looped over his shoulder.’
    • ‘He smiled and grabbed my hand and looped it through his arm.’
    • ‘Use the pliers to loop the ends of the wire into spirals.’
    • ‘Without waiting for a response, she grabbed hold of one of Isabella's arm, looped it through her own, and then pulled her into the drawing room.’
    • ‘Each man had a canteen strapped to his belt or looped over his shoulder.’
    • ‘When I bent down to loop the wet laces, something low, slow, and wavering caught my eye.’
    • ‘The bands - flat and wide or thin and round, with varying degrees of resistance - can be knotted and looped around furniture.’
    • ‘Kari shrugged then looped her arm through his, leaning her head on his shoulder.’
    • ‘Andy climbed a rope, all the way to the ceiling of the gymnasium - some twenty feet up - and by looping the rope around his leg managed to stay there.’
    • ‘It was a process a bit like tying a granny knot: twisting one edge of the sausage rope into a loop, then threading the other end through, looping it, and twisting again.’
    coil, wind, twist, snake, wreathe, spiral, form a hoop with, form hoops with, make a circle with, make circles with, bend into spirals, bend into whorls
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    1. 1.1[no object, with adverbial]Follow a course that forms a loop or loops.
      ‘the canal loops for two miles through the city’
      • ‘We slowed our progress at the intersection point and they looped back around.’
      • ‘During its circuitous voyage, Cassini-Huygens clocked up almost two and a quarter billion miles as it looped across space to the outer solar system.’
      • ‘It also forced me to loop through a farmer's field and invade a woodchuck's privacy to continue my walk.’
      • ‘We looped round to Elgin, and came back by the coast.’
      • ‘In this way, particles loop back and forth, gaining energy at each passage.’
      • ‘The sea looks ominous as we loop on to the esplanade and follow the coast for a couple of kilometres past a string of beach houses, mostly modern, with large decks and garish too-new pastel hues.’
      • ‘The former hurricane looped back across Florida and bombarded the Texas - Louisiana line last night with heavy rain.’
      • ‘It also has a surprising number of rides for shorties, including the Buffalo Coaster, which loops out over the lake.’
      • ‘Metromover is an elevated tramway looping 1.9 miles around downtown with automated cars running every 5 minutes.’
      • ‘They must have looped around when Jeremy was not there to take the hit.’
      • ‘As they looped around the tennis course Jake and Ryan threw in a planned surge abandoning Jonah.’
      • ‘We are opting for a huge social shift in which more and more (banking, shopping, entertainment, working) is done not face to face but by cables looping past our front doors.’
      • ‘On the last day, looping back into Kaunas, we rode together without talking, mile after mile.’
      • ‘Through the stones, walkers will be able to trace the course of a farmer's year simply by following the route, which loops from Stenkrith to Hartley and back.’
      • ‘Unfortunately for him, and his side, the ball looped through the air and under the bar.’
      • ‘With nothing to follow, I loop out and back, hoping to sight a cable emerging further out from the wreck.’
      • ‘It takes four years to loop around the Sun, although it has a very odd, almost chaotic spin quite unseen in any other asteroid.’
      wind, curve, bend, twist, turn, snake, meander, coil, spiral, corkscrew
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    2. 1.2Put into or execute a loop of tape, film, or computing instructions.
      • ‘There is a schedule and the film will not be looped.’
      • ‘The main consideration when choosing a digital device is if the device loops a recorded clip of sound or synthesizes its own sound.’
      • ‘The film itself is approximately three minutes in length, set to loop continuously.’
      • ‘It loops on standard input, reading one line at a time, and attempts to pattern-match on content of interest.’
      • ‘The timer is then set up to run four seconds later, looping infinitely.’


  • in (or out of) the loop

    • informal Aware (or unaware) of information known to only a privileged few.

      ‘he complained of being kept out of the loop and threatened to resign’
      • ‘I've been out of the loop for a while, so tell me - is this old news already?’
      • ‘You know you're out of the loop when you get the announcement of the new baby and you didn't know your friend was even in a relationship.’
      • ‘She tries to keep us informed and in the loop with most of the stuff that goes on.’
      • ‘Don't let your reclusive tendencies shut you out of the loop entirely.’
      • ‘Once you're out of the loop, though, you wonder why anyone watched it.’
      • ‘I have a good enough relationship with some of the faculty in the linguistics department there that I would not be totally out of the loop.’
      • ‘Gossip isn't always vicious, sometimes it's just informative and keeps you in the loop.’
      • ‘I'm not completely out of the loop, though, I must confess.’
      • ‘Currently that's the scoop we've got for you - we'll keep you in the loop about new information as it becomes available to us.’
      • ‘So, if you haven't got an invite by now, you're out of the loop.’
      privy to, aware of, acquainted with, informed about, informed of, advised of, apprised of, mindful of, sensible of
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  • loop the loop

    • (of an aircraft) describe a vertical circle in the air.

      ‘Julie will loop the loop next month on her first trip into the skies’
      • ‘According to the airshow commentator wingwalking harks back to the early days of flying when planes were regarded as outdoor circus acts and feats of daring like looping the loop and wingwalking were standard fare.’
      • ‘While she was having ‘a fantastic time looping the loop, undertaking twinkle rolls and brake turns’, I wonder if she gave any thought to those living in villages and countryside to the south of the city under her aircraft.’
      • ‘Many candidates reacted to the strains of zero gravity by looping the loop compulsively.’
      • ‘The pair then climbed 200m above the sea, to perform an air show that included flying backwards and virtually looping the loop.’
      • ‘Charlotte says she is used to heights - not just because she is 6ft 1 in tall, but also because she when she was an air cadet she loved looping the loop in aircraft flown by RAF pilots.’
      • ‘Coleen, who admitted she had not been looking forward to the trip, threw caution to the wind and ended up having a fantastic time looping the loop and soaring above the clouds during her visit to the RAF base.’
      • ‘The captain took the opportunity to show off his skills - performing an exhilarating stunt flight, looping the loop, somersaulting, rolling and spiralling far above the crowds' heads.’
      • ‘We arrived at the scene of the fire, the two of us and the plane, a Chipmunk, had been trying to loop the loop, the pilot and the passenger were two professors from Manchester University.’
  • throw (or knock) someone for a loop

    • informal Surprise or astonish someone.

      ‘the emotional aspect of it all threw us for a loop’
      • ‘He had expected everything to go well between Keira and Adam, and this fight threw him for a loop.’
      • ‘There's only one aspect of the DVD that doesn't satisfy, and while it's not quite enough to ruin the disc for me, it certainly threw me for a loop.’
      • ‘I can't dictate those parameters and that throws me for a loop.’
      • ‘I think I threw her for a loop when I said, ‘That's fine, honey.’’
      • ‘He was a grown man with enough experience to fill up a book where women were concerned, but this slip of a girl had somehow managed to throw him for a loop.’
      • ‘I wasn't too sure if I was supposed to be convinced, or if it was supposed to throw me for a loop.’
      • ‘But the fact that people want to shop that way on the Web sort of threw us for a loop.’
      • ‘It's a powerful connection that can really throw you for a loop.’
      • ‘The two people who are supposed to love you the most - love you no matter what - left me and it really did knock me for a loop.’
      • ‘I suppose it's amusing that I have no problems using a mouse or trackball, but this ‘natural’ pen interface is throwing me for a loop because it's not a direct interface.’


Late Middle English: of unknown origin; compare with Scottish Gaelic lùb loop, bend.