1590s, "a lover," from Italian, literally "little love," a diminutive of amore "love," from Latin amor "love, affection; one's beloved" (see Amy).
Forms of this word were borrowed more than once into English from the continental languages, apparently suggesting a higher degree of romance or naughtiness than was available in the native words. The earliest is Middle English amorette (c. 1400, from Old French amorete "sweetheart, amorous girl"), which was obsolete by 17c. but revived or reborrowed 1825 as amourette "petty love affair." Also amorado (c. 1600, from Spanish), amoroso (1610s, Italian). They were variously applied as well to love sonnets, love-knots, amorous glances, little cupids, etc. Also compare Amaretto.