- A method of escape, especially an ambiguity or exception in a rule that can be exploited in order to avoid its effect.
- 1839, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
- :Coupling the poor girl's intelligence with my previous knowledge, and the result of our good friend's inquiries on the spot, I left him no of escape, and laid bare the whole villainy which by these lights became plain as day.
- 2002, Two Weeks Notice (movie)
- :You have a contract that says you will work until Island Towers is finalized, which I interpret as completion of construction, or I can stop you working elsewhere. And there's no loopholes, because you drafted it and you're the best.
- A slit in a castle wall. Later: any similar window for shooting a weapon or letting in light.
- 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
- :... and having a fair , as it were, from a broken hole in the tree, he took a sure aim, without being seen, waiting till they were within about thirty yards of the tree, so that he could not miss.
- 1809, Maria Edgeworth, The Absentee
- :There was a in this wall, to let the light in, just at the height of a person's head, who was sitting near the chimney.
- 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, p25
- :The sun had shifted round, and the myriad windows of the Ministry of Truth, with the light no longer shining on them, looked grim as the s of a fortress.
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Full Definition of loophole