[luhv] /lʌv/

a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
sexual passion or desire.
a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
(used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like):
Would you like to see a movie, love?
a ; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
sexual intercourse; copulation.
(initial capital letter) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
affectionate concern for the well-being of others:
the love of one’s neighbor.
strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything:
her love of books.
the object or thing so liked:
The theater was her great love.
the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
verb (used with object), loved, loving.
to have love or affection for:
All her pupils love her.
to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in:
to love music.
to need or require; benefit greatly from:
Plants love sunlight.
to embrace and kiss (someone), as a .
to have sexual intercourse with.
verb (used without object), loved, loving.
to have love or affection for another person; be in love.
Verb phrases
love up, to hug and cuddle:
She loves him up every chance she gets.
for love,

for the love of, in consideration of; for the sake of:
For the love of mercy, stop that noise.
in love, infused with or feeling deep affection or passion:
a youth always in love.
in love with, feeling deep affection or passion for (a person, idea, occupation, etc.); enamored of:
in love with the girl next door; in love with one’s work.
make love,

no love lost, dislike; animosity:
There was no love lost between the two brothers.
(transitive) to have a great attachment to and affection for
(transitive) to have passionate desire, longing, and feelings for
(transitive) to like or desire (to do something) very much
(transitive) to make love to
(intransitive) to be in love

a deep feeling of sexual attraction and desire
wholehearted liking for or pleasure in something

Also my love. a beloved person: used esp as an endearment
(Brit, informal) a term of address, esp but not necessarily for a person regarded as likable
(in tennis, squash, etc) a score of zero
fall in love, to become in love
for love, without payment
(used with a negative) for love or money, in any circumstances: I wouldn’t eat a snail for love or money
for the love of, for the sake of
in love, in a state of strong emotional attachment and usually sexual attraction
make love


Old English lufu “love, affection, friendliness,” from Proto-Germanic *lubo (cf. Old High German liubi “joy,” German Liebe “love;” Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob “praise;” Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs “dear, beloved”).

The Germanic words are from PIE *leubh- “to care, desire, love” (cf. Latin lubet, later libet “pleases;” Sanskrit lubhyati “desires;” Old Church Slavonic l’ubu “dear, beloved;” Lithuanian liaupse “song of praise”).

“Even now,” she thought, “almost no one remembers Esteban and Pepita but myself. Camilla alone remembers her Uncle Pio and her son; this woman, her mother. But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” [Thornton Wilder, “Bridge of San Luis Rey,” 1927]

Meaning “a beloved person” is from early 13c. The sense “no score” (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of “playing for love,” i.e. “for nothing” (1670s). Phrase for love or money “for anything” is attested from 1580s. Love seat is from 1904. Love-letter is attested from mid-13c.; love-song from early 14c. To fall in love is attested from early 15c. To be in love with (someone) is from c.1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense “pay amorous attention to;” as a euphemism for “have sex,” it is attested from c.1950. Love life “one’s collective amorous activities” is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love affair is from 1590s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c.1640) as well as two who have no love for each other (1620s).


Old English lufian “to love, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve,” from Proto-Germanic *lubojan (cf. Old High German lubon, German lieben), from root of love (n.). Related: Loved; loving. Adjective Love-hate “ambivalent” is from 1937, originally a term in psychological jargon.


An instance of caressing, fondling, etc (1953+)

Related Terms

calf love, for the love of pete, puppy love

This word seems to require explanation only in the case of its use by our Lord in his interview with “Simon, the son of Jonas,” after his resurrection (John 21:16, 17). When our Lord says, “Lovest thou me?” he uses the Greek word _agapas_; and when Simon answers, he uses the Greek word _philo_, i.e., “I love.” This is the usage in the first and second questions put by our Lord; but in the third our Lord uses Simon’s word. The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench:, “_Agapan_ has more of judgment and deliberate choice; _philein_ has more of attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus the ‘Lovest thou’ (Gr. agapas) on the lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do. Therefore he puts by the word and substitutes his own stronger ‘I love’ (Gr. philo) in its room. A second time he does the same. And now he has conquered; for when the Lord demands a third time whether he loves him, he does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter (‘Lovest thou,’ Gr. phileis), which alone claims from him that personal attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his heart is full.” In 1 Cor. 13 the apostle sets forth the excellency of love, as the word “charity” there is rendered in the Revised Version.


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