amoretto (n.)

1590s, "a lover," from Italian, literally "little love," a diminutive of amore "love," from Latin amor "love, affection; one's beloved" (see Amy).

The English borrowed forms of this word more than once from the continental languages, perhaps perceiving in them romance or naughtiness lacking 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), and compare Amaretto. The words were applied as well to love sonnets, love-knots, amorous glances, little cupids, etc. 

updated on September 20, 2022