Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that is worthless.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A worthless or despicable person.
  • adj. Worthless; wasteful.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wasteful; slothful.
  • n. One who loses by sloth or neglect; a worthless person; a lorel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A good-for-nothing, worthless fellow; a scamp.
  • Worthless; wasteful.

Etymologies

Middle English, from lōsen, past participle of lēsen, to lose, from Old English -lēosan; see lorn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English losel (also lorel), from *losen, loren, past participle of lesen ("to lose"), equivalent to lose +‎ -le. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “A murrain on thee, thou lazy losel!” said Rudolph — “Thou art the only sluggard of thy kyn.”

    Anne of Geierstein

  • And each losel receives him with bark and with bite:

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  •         Knowing yet right well Jove, what a losel is he.

    Poems and Fragments

  • But its happiest effect was, that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration; and the office of constable fell into such decay that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years.

    Washington Irving

  • Punch Costello was of them all embraided and they reclaimed the churl with civil rudeness some and shaked him with menace of blandishments others whiles they all chode with him, a murrain seize the dolt, what a devil he would be at, thou chuff, thou puny, thou got in peasestraw, thou losel, thou chitterling, thou spawn of

    Ulysses

  • Years ago there was a young Bilkins, one Pendexter Bilkins -- a sad losel, we fear -- who ran away to try his fortunes before the mast, and fell overboard in a gale off Hatteras.

    Humorous Masterpieces from American Literature

  • But its happiest effect was that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration, and the office of constable fell into such decay that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8

  • Wasn't that "lewd losel" told by the Kentish Archbishop how useful such music might be say if a pilgrim struck his toe on a stone? '

    Cinderella in the South Twenty-Five South African Tales

  • But its happiest effect was that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration; and the office of constable fell into such decay that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years.

    Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Volume I

  • But its happiest effect was, that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration; and the office of constable fell into such decay, that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years.

    The Wit and Humor of America, Volume I. (of X.)

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Comments

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  • "But one sad losel soils a name for aye..."

    -- Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

    November 20, 2009

  • A worthless person.

    May 12, 2008