love (n.)

Old English lufu "feeling of love; romantic sexual attraction; affection; friendliness; the love of God; Love as an abstraction or personification," from Proto-Germanic *lubo (source also of 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 root *leubh- "to care, desire, love."

The weakened sense "liking, fondness" was in Old English. Meaning "a beloved person" is from early 13c. The sense "no score" (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of playing for love (1670s), that is, for no stakes. Phrase for love or money "for anything" is attested from 1580s. 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 liking for each other (1620s, the usual modern sense).

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 affair "a particular experience of love" is from 1590s. Love life "one's collective amorous activities" is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love beads is from 1968. Love bug, imaginary insect, is from 1883. Love-handles "the fat on one's sides" is by 1967.

"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]

Origin and meaning of love

love (v.)

Old English lufian "to feel love for, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve," from Proto-Germanic *lubojanan (source also of Old High German lubon, German lieben), a verb from the root of love (n.). Weakened sense of "like" attested by c. 1200. Intransitive sense "be in love, have a passionate attachment" is from mid-13c. To love (someone) up "make out with" is from 1921. To love and leave is from 1885.

This truth came borne with bier and pall,
I felt it, when I sorrow'd most,
'Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all —
[Tennyson, "In Memoriam"]
Origin and meaning of love

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of love from WordNet
love (n.)
a strong positive emotion of regard and affection;
children need a lot of love
his love for his work
love (n.)
any object of warm affection or devotion;
the theater was her first love
Synonyms: passion
love (n.)
a beloved person; used as terms of endearment;
Synonyms: beloved / dear / dearest / honey
love (n.)
a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction;
she was his first love
their love left them indifferent to their surroundings
Synonyms: sexual love / erotic love
love (n.)
a score of zero in tennis or squash;
it was 40 love
love (n.)
sexual activities (often including sexual intercourse) between two people;
he has a very complicated love life
he hadn't had any love in months
Synonyms: sexual love / lovemaking / making love / love life
love (v.)
have a great affection or liking for;
I love French food
She loves her boss and works hard for him
love (v.)
get pleasure from;
I love cooking
Synonyms: enjoy
love (v.)
be enamored or in love with;
She loves her husband deeply
love (v.)
have sexual intercourse with;
Synonyms: sleep together / roll in the hay / make out / make love / sleep with / get laid / have sex / know / do it / be intimate / have intercourse / have it away / have it off / screw / fuck / jazz / eff / hump / lie with / bed / have a go at it / bang / get it on / bonk
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.