Words related to romance


noun and adjective, Old English, "of or pertaining to ancient Rome; an inhabitant or native of ancient Rome," from Latin Romanus "of Rome, Roman," from Roma "Rome" (see Rome). The adjective is c. 1300, from Old French Romain. The Old English adjective was romanisc, which yielded Middle English Romanisshe.

In reference to a type of numeral (usually contrasted to Arabic) it is attested from 1728; as a type of lettering (based on the upright style typical of Roman inscriptions, contrasted to Gothic, or black letter, and italic) it is recorded from 1510s. The Roman nose, having a prominent upper part, is so called by 1620s. The Roman candle as a type of fireworks is recorded from 1834. Roman Catholic is attested from c. 1600, a conciliatory formation from the time of the Spanish Match, replacing Romanist, Romish which by that time had the taint of insult in Protestant England.

romancer (n.)

mid-14c., "chronicler writing in French," from Anglo-French romancour, Old French romanceour, from romanz (see romance (n.)). From 1660s as "one who writes extravagant fictions;" later, "one inclined to romantic imagination" (the main 19c. sense); modern use for "seducer, wooer having a romantic quality" appears to be a new formation c. 1967 from romance (v.).

Bildungsroman (n.)

"novel set in the formative years, or the time of spiritual education, of the main character," 1910, from German Bildungsroman, from Bildung "education, formation, growth" (from Bild "picture, image, figure") + roman "novel" (see romance (n.)). German Bild is from Old High German bilade, from Proto-Germanic *biliþja or *bilaþja, the source also of Dutch beeld, Old English biliþe, but the ultimate origin is unknown. 

roman (n.)

"a novel," 1765, from French roman, from Old French romanz (see romance (n.)). Roman à clef, novel in which characters represent real persons, literally "novel with a key" (French), is attested in English by 1893. And, in the days when a tec was popular reading, roman policier "a story of police detection" (1928).

Romanesque (adj.)

1715, "descended from Latin" (compare romance (n.)), later "architectural style in Western Europe between the Roman and Gothic periods" (1819), from Roman + -esque. Influenced by French romanesque, from Late Latin Romanice "in Vulgar Latin." As a noun, "the early medieval style in architecture," by 1830.

Romanic (adj.)

"pertaining to Rome or the Roman people," 1708, originally and usually in reference to languages or dialects descended from Latin, from Latin Romanicus, from Romanus "Roman" (see Roman; also compare romance (n.)).


"Rhaeto-Romanic," the Latin-derived language spoken in the Grisons region of eastern Switzerland, 1660s, from Grisons Rumansch, from Late Latin Romanice "in Vulgar Latin" (see romance (n.)).

romantic (adj.)

1650s, "of the nature of a literary romance, partaking of the heroic or marvelous," from French romantique "pertaining to romance," from romant "a romance," an oblique case or variant of Old French romanz "verse narrative" (see romance (n.)).

Of places, "characterized by poetic or inspiring scenery," by 1705. As a literary style, opposed to classical (q.v.) since before 1812; it was used of schools of poetry in Germany (late 18c.) and later France. In music, "characterized by expression of feeling more than formal methods of composition," from 1885. Meaning "characteristic of an ideal love affair" (such as usually formed the subject of literary romances) is from 1660s. Meaning "having a love affair as a theme" is from 1960. Related: Romantical (1670s); romantically; romanticality. Compare romanticism.