A loom is a machine or device for weaving thread or yarn into textiles. Looms can range from very small hand-held frames, to large free-standing hand looms, to huge automatic mechanical devices. One type of automatic loom is the Jacquard loom, which uses punch cards to control the pattern being woven.
Originally, powered looms were shuttle-operated but in the early part of the 20th century the faster and more efficient shuttleless loom came into use. Today, advances in technology have produced a variety of looms designed to maximize production for specific types of material. The most common of these are air-jet looms and water-jet looms.
[Weaving is done by intersecting the longitudinal threads, the warp, i.e. "that which is thrown across" (Old English wearp, from weorpan, to throw, cf. German werfen) with the transverse threads, the woof or weft, i.e. "that which is woven" (Old English wefta, from wefan, to weave, cf. German weben).
The Old English geloma and Middle English lome meant an implement or tool of any kind.
The earliest example with its specific meaning quoted by the Oxford English Dictionary is from the Nottingham Records of 1404.