Ask Difference

Disgust vs. Loathing — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 6, 2024
Disgust is a strong feeling of aversion or repulsion towards something perceived as unpleasant, while loathing is an intense, often deep-seated feeling of hatred or abhorrence.
Disgust vs. Loathing — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Disgust and Loathing


Key Differences

Disgust is a response to something offensive or distasteful, often accompanied by physical reactions like nausea, whereas loathing is a more profound emotional response that conveys strong hatred or revulsion.
Disgust typically focuses on sensory triggers like sight, smell, or taste, causing immediate rejection, while loathing tends to be linked to moral or personal beliefs, eliciting a deep-seated avoidance.
Disgust can be momentary and often triggered by external stimuli like rotten food, whereas loathing usually implies a longer-lasting negative feeling that can persist even without immediate stimuli.
Disgust might inspire avoidance or distancing from an unpleasant source, while loathing often motivates stronger rejection, sometimes translating to hostile attitudes.
Disgust is more surface-level and fleeting, while loathing represents a deeper emotional state that may be difficult to overcome once entrenched.

Comparison Chart


Strong aversion, generally moderate
Intense hatred or abhorrence


Temporary, often brief
Longer-lasting and deep-seated


Sensory stimuli like smell, taste, or sight
Moral beliefs or personal experiences


Physical responses (e.g., nausea)
Psychological responses (e.g., hatred)

Emotional Depth

Surface-level aversion
Deep, ingrained, and persistent dislike

Compare with Definitions


Strong aversion or dislike.
She felt disgust upon seeing moldy bread.


Intense, deep-seated hatred.
She felt loathing towards those who bullied her.


Reaction to something unpleasant.
The dirty bathroom filled him with disgust.


Profound dislike with a moral basis.
Loathing for exploitation drove him to speak out.


Emotional response to offensive behavior.
The lies in the politician's speech caused disgust.


Persistent aversion with strong emotions.
He couldn't hide his loathing for the corrupt officials.


Physiological reaction involving repulsion.
The strong smell made her wrinkle her nose in disgust.


Persistent state of abhorrence.
His loathing for dishonesty shaped his career choices.


Moral objection to unethical actions.
Disgust at corruption led him to resign.


Emotional rejection of a concept or person.
The activist's loathing for inequality inspired her protest.


Disgust (Middle French: desgouster, from Latin gustus, "taste") is an emotional response of rejection or revulsion to something potentially contagious or something considered offensive, distasteful, or unpleasant. In The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Charles Darwin wrote that disgust is a sensation that refers to something revolting.


Great dislike; abhorrence.


To excite nausea or loathing in; sicken.


Sense of revulsion, distaste, detestation, extreme hatred or dislike.
The man's loathing of his former friend was palpable; you could feel how much he now hated him.


To offend the taste or moral sense of; repel.


Present participle of loathe


Profound dislike or annoyance caused by something sickening or offensive.


(obsolete) loath


To cause an intense dislike for something.
It disgusts me to see her chew with her mouth open.


Extreme disgust; a feeling of aversion, nausea, abhorrence, or detestation.
The mutual fear and loathing of the hostile races.


An intense dislike or loathing someone feels for something bad or nasty.
With an air of disgust, she stormed out of the room.


Hate coupled with disgust


To provoke disgust or strong distaste in; to cause (any one) loathing, as of the stomach; to excite aversion in; to offend the moral taste of; - often with at, with, or by.
To disgust him with the world and its vanities.
Ærius is expressly declared . . . to have been disgusted at failing.
Alarmed and disgusted by the proceedings of the convention.


Repugnance to what is offensive; aversion or displeasure produced by something loathsome; loathing; strong distaste; - said primarily of the sickening opposition felt for anything which offends the physical organs of taste; now rather of the analogous repugnance excited by anything extremely unpleasant to the moral taste or higher sensibilities of our nature; as, an act of cruelty may excite disgust.
The manner of doing is more consequence than the thing done, and upon that depends the satisfaction or disgust wherewith it is received.
In a vulgar hack writer such oddities would have excited only disgust.


Strong feelings of dislike


Fill with distaste;
This spoilt food disgusts me


Cause aversion in; offend the moral sense of;
The pornographic pictures sickened us

Common Curiosities

Can disgust lead to loathing?

Yes, repeated exposure to something disgusting can lead to long-term loathing.

Is loathing more intense than disgust?

Generally, yes. Loathing involves a deeper and more ingrained emotional response.

Is disgust always accompanied by physical reactions?

Not always, but it often includes facial expressions or nausea.

Does loathing involve moral judgment?

Often, yes. Loathing is frequently tied to personal or societal beliefs.

Can disgust be mild?

Yes, disgust can range from mild irritation to strong aversion.

Can loathing be reversed easily?

No, it tends to be deep-rooted and requires significant effort to change.

Are disgust and loathing universal emotions?

Both are recognized across cultures, but triggers vary.

Can disgust be momentary?

Yes, disgust can be a brief, immediate response to unpleasant stimuli.

Can loathing be developed quickly?

It's possible but typically develops over time due to repeated exposure or strong negative experiences.

Is loathing ever considered justifiable?

It can be seen as a protective response, though the appropriateness is subjective.

Can disgust be a useful emotion?

Yes, it can protect against harmful or unclean situations.

Can one feel both disgust and loathing simultaneously?

Yes, one might experience immediate disgust while harboring deeper loathing.

Does loathing typically involve a target person or thing?

Yes, loathing is usually directed at something specific.

Is loathing more personal than disgust?

Often, loathing is directed toward specific individuals or groups.

Can disgust be experienced towards ideas or concepts?

Yes, people can feel disgust towards offensive or immoral ideas.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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