Definitions

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

  • n. The part of the body of a human or quadruped on either side of the backbone and between the ribs and hips.
  • n. One of several cuts of meat, such as tenderloin, taken from this part of an animal's body, typically including the vertebrae of the segment from which it is taken.
  • n. The region of the hips, groin, and lower abdomen.
  • n. The reproductive organs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The part of the body (of humans and quadrupeds) at each side of the backbone, between the ribs and hips
  • n. Any of several cuts of meat taken from this part of an animal

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That part of a human being or quadruped, which extends on either side of the spinal column between the hip bone and the false ribs. In human beings the loins are also called the reins. See Illust. of beef.
  • n. A cut of meat taken from this part of a food animal, as from cattle or hogs.
  • n. The pubic area; the genitalia, especially in women.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The part of an animal which lies between the lowest of the false ribs on each side and the upper part of the ilium or haunchbone; one of the lateral parts of the lumbar region: commonly used in the plural (often figuratively, with reference to this part of the body being the seat of the generative faculty and a symbol of strength), except as the name of a piece of meat from the lumbar region of an animal, as a loin of veal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. either side of the backbone between the hipbone and the ribs in humans as well as quadrupeds
  • n. a cut of meat taken from the side and back of an animal between the ribs and the rump

Etymologies

Middle English loine, from Old French loigne, from Vulgar Latin *lumbea (carō), loin (meat), feminine of *lumbeus, of the loin, from Latin lumbus, loin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English loyne, from Old French loigne, assumedly from Late Latin root *lumbea, from Latin lumbus ("loin"), from Proto-Germanic *landwīn, *landwiō (“waist, loins”), from Proto-Indo-European *lendhw- (“kidney, waist”). Cognate with Old English lendenu, Dutch lende, German Lende, Swedish länd ("haunch, loin"), Proto-Slavic *lędvьja (Russian лядвея). See also lende. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • • For the leanest cut, look for the word loin, i.e., tenderloin, loin chops, loin roasts.

    The Small Change Diet

  • They wear no clothing except what they call loin-cloth or breach-cloth, and when they, go on the war-path, just as when they went to attack Fort Pitt, they are completely naked.

    Two Months in the Camp of Big Bear

  • Blackbirders though descended from old New York Knickerbocker stock, surged in, clad in loin-cloth, undershirt, two belted revolvers and a sheath - knife, he was stopped at the beach.

    A GOBOTO NIGHT

  • Some may recall the breathless excitement generated by the esteemed journal National Geographic when its 1971 cover story of the "Stone Age" Tasaday hit the presses - and the subsequent red faces of all concerned when the "tribe" turned out to be some local villagers gallavanting in loin cloths.

    Society's fascination with the wild outsider

  • I can't do, (ahem, make that not ALLOWED) anything else until the loin is prepared for supper.

    Hunting and the Work Place

  • TWIN Zimbabwean brothers were charged with indecent exposure after strolling up to an up-market Harare shopping mall wearing only traditional goatskin loin cloths, a state-run newspaper reported Sunday.

    Brothers Display Pride in Ancestry, Among Other Things

  • So, one meerkat-specialty lasagna, a large quantity of beef vegetable soup are setting in the freezer, I test-drove a pasta fry-up recipe for dinner (rigatoni with garlic-infused olive oil, fresh minced garlic and chipolte), and a pork loin is marinating in port wine for dinner tomorrow night.

    kitchen day

  • In any Far Eastern town there are rickshaw pullers by the hundred, black wretches weighing eight stone, clad in loin-cloths.

    Down and Out in Paris and London

  • The men, big strapping fellows, were in loin-cloths, with here and there no shirt, while the women wore the universal ahu, a sort of adult pinafore that flows in graceful lines from the shoulders to the ground.

    Chapter 12

  • The men, bug, strapping fellows, were in loin cloths, with here and there no shirt, while the women wore the universal ahu, a sort of adult pinafore that flows in graceful lines from the shoulders to the ground.

    "The High Seat Of Abundance"

Comments

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  • that's weird, because cuts of sole are usually called fillets...same with most flatfish (except Alaskan halibut fillet, which is sometimes thick enough to be called loin, at least toward the head—but at that point it's little more than a marketing term. Fishmongers will sometimes offer "'loin cut' halibut steaks"). I have heard the construction loin out, as in "get those tombo loined out."

    January 22, 2013

  • The OED has something about how it's the "technical term for 'to carve' (a sole)."

    January 22, 2013

  • I can't find a definition to back me up, but, for swordfish, tuna, some shark, and other large food fish such as opah, a loin refers to one of the four long, unbroken muscles that the fish uses for propulsion and from which steaks can be cut. These are quadrants, back/belly/left/right, such that the back and belly loin together, from a given side, forms what would be called the fillet in a smaller fish.

    This google image search may shed some light on the subject.

    January 22, 2013