a mirage in which objects below the horizon seem to be raised above their true positions.

1620–30; loom2 + -ing1

Dictionary.com Unabridged


1 [loom]
a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc.
the art or the process of weaving.
the part of an oar between the blade and the handle.
verb (used with object)
to weave (something) on a loom.

before 900; Middle English lome, Old English gelōma tool, implement. See heirloom


2 [loom]
verb (used without object)
to appear indistinctly; come into view in indistinct and enlarged form: The mountainous island loomed on the horizon.
to rise before the vision with an appearance of great or portentous size: Suddenly a police officer loomed in front of him.
to assume form as an impending event: A battle looms at the convention.
a looming appearance, as of something seen indistinctly at a distance or through a fog: the loom of a moraine directly in their path.

1585–95; origin uncertain

2. rear, tower.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
loom1 (luːm)
1.  an apparatus, worked by hand (hand loom) or mechanically (power loom), for weaving yarn into a textile
2.  the middle portion of an oar, which acts as a fulcrum swivelling in the rowlock
[C13 (meaning any kind of tool): variant of Old English gelōma tool; compare heirloom]

loom2 (luːm)
1.  to come into view indistinctly with an enlarged and often threatening aspect
2.  (of an event) to seem ominously close
3.  (often foll by over) (of large objects) to dominate or overhang
4.  a rising appearance, as of something far away
[C16: perhaps from East Frisian lomen to move slowly]

loom3 (luːm)
1.  another name for diver
2.  any of various other birds, esp the guillemot
[C17: from Old Norse lomr]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. geloma "utensil, tool," from ge- perfective prefix + -loma, of unknown origin. Originally "implement or tool of any kind" (cf. heirloom); thus, "the penis" (c.1400-1600). Meaning "a machine in thich yarn or thread is woven into fabric" is from 1404.

1540s, perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. dial. Swed. loma, E.Fris. lomen "move slowly"), perhaps a variant from the root of lame (adj.); first used of ships.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Loyal Order of Moose
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Some of the same people who warned of the looming subprime crisis two years ago
  are ringing alarm bells again.
In this age of looming bioterrorism, keeping chemical warfare vapors off of
  soldiers is a primary military concern.
It updates its traffic readings every two minutes to ensure there's no
  blockades looming.
So is the big building, gabled and stout, looming ahead on our left.
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