Definition of love in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ləv/


1An intense feeling of deep affection: babies fill parents with intense feelings of love their love for their country
More example sentences
  • That year he moved to London but his love for Wales was strong and he eventually settled permanently there.
  • His love for children and affection for the sick have endeared him to all.
  • My brother, and his real, strong love for me that was able to pull me back into the world I know.
deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment;
devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship;
passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation, besottedness
compassion, care, caring, regard, solicitude, concern, friendliness, friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, altruism, unselfishness, philanthropy, benevolence, fellow feeling, humanity
relationship, love affair, romance, liaison, affair of the heart, amour
1.1A deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone: it was love at first sight they were both in love with her we were slowly falling in love
More example sentences
  • She did not overtly try to attract Edgar, but he was still falling in love with her.
  • He unexpectedly finds himself falling in love with a young refugee.
  • Falling in love with Maria, he comes to question rigid definitions of masculine and feminine.
become infatuated with, give/lose one's heart to
informal fall for, be bowled over by, be swept off one's feet by, develop a crush on
infatuated with, besotted with, enamored of, smitten with, consumed with desire for;
captivated by, bewitched by, enthralled by, entranced by, moonstruck by;
devoted to, doting on
informal mad/crazy/nuts/wild about
1.2 (Love) A personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid.
Example sentences
  • Dante stands on the left, led by Love who bends to kiss Beatrice.
1.3A great interest and pleasure in something: his love for football we share a love of music
More example sentences
  • Willie was the local historian, a very popular man who had a great interest and love of his locality.
  • I had a great interest and love of music, and music was always a part of the family, but no one had ever pursued it.
  • You'll need to read this book to taste his love of the hurley, the alley and hurling itself.
liking of/for, enjoyment of, appreciation of/for, taste for, delight for/in, relish of, passion for, zeal for, appetite for, zest for, enthusiasm for, keenness for, fondness for, soft spot for, weakness for, bent for, proclivity for, inclination for, disposition for, partiality for, predilection for, penchant for
1.4Affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf.
Example sentences
  • Big Hugs to Tamsin. I'm sending all my love and best wishes to Tamsin who goes in for her operation today.
  • We also send our best love to you and the children all wish that they were going on the same ship as their Father.
  • Now, I don't know her, but my heart goes out to her, and I'm sending my love.
best wishes, regards, good wishes, greetings, kind/kindest regards
1.5A formula for ending an affectionate letter: take care, lots of love, Judy
More example sentences
  • All the very very best to you Tom, and lots of love from Charlie.
  • Hmmm nothing of any import to say so I will sign off again, lots of love.
  • Looking forward to seeing you soon, Lots of love, Grannie
2A person or thing that one loves: she was the love of his life their two great loves are tobacco and whiskey
More example sentences
  • By the end of the trip I knew she had two loves; her son and her carpets.
  • This tale of country folk, their loves and hates, their customs, is like a prescription for our troubled age.
  • The prolific writer spent his life combining his two great loves - writing and the Lake District.
beloved, loved one, love of one's life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, angel, honey;
2.1British informal A friendly form of address: it’s all right, love
More example sentences
  • It's alright my love you are safe with me.
  • It's alright my love, what you want to know I'll tell you. Ask me.
  • It's alright my love! I'm here! Everything will be just fine!
2.2 (a love) British informal Used to express affectionate approval for someone: don’t fret, there’s a love
More example sentences
  • "Don't choke 'im, there's a love".
  • "Emily, my dear," said the spinster aunt, with a patronising air, "don't talk so loud, love."
  • Stop complaining about free speech and don't be a hypocrite, there's a love.
3(In tennis, squash, and some other sports) a score of zero; nil: love fifteen he was down two sets to love
Apparently from the phrase play for love (i.e., the love of the game, not for money); folk etymology has connected the word with French l'oeuf 'egg', from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero
More example sentences
  • More so in the second set where Jones held four out of five service games at love.
  • To come back from two sets to love and win it is an awesome feeling.
  • The running tennis score of each of the games is expressed in a style peculiar to tennis: score in a game from zero to three points is represented as zero (or "love"), fifteen, thirty, and forty correspondingly.


[with object]
1Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone): do you love me?
More example sentences
  • He truly did love her, and deep down he knew his family would too, but he was still nervous.
  • Though you tried to deny it, you must trust your heart that deep inside you love him.
  • A part of me hoped that deep down he really did love me for that.
care very much for, feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, dote on, idolize, worship;
be in love with, be infatuated with, be smitten with, be besotted with
informal be mad/crazy/nuts/wild about, have a crush on, carry a torch for
1.1Like very much; find pleasure in: I’d love a cup of tea, thanks I just love dancing [as adjective, in combination]: (-loving) a fun-loving girl
More example sentences
  • Sarah loves the outdoors and enjoys swimming, surfing, gardening, cooking and camping.
  • But thousands of ordinary people would love the chance to enjoy opera more fully.
  • What we do is for people who really love his music.
like very much, delight in, enjoy greatly, have a passion for, take great pleasure in, derive great pleasure from, relish, savor;
have a weakness for, be partial to, have a soft spot for, have a taste for, be taken with
informal get a kick out of, have a thing about, be mad/crazy/nuts/wild about, be hooked on, get off on



for love

For pleasure not profit: he played for the love of the game
More example sentences
  • Did anyone seriously imagine that he was managing England for love rather than money?
  • It's not a lot of money, so we do it for love, we do it because we have this commitment.
  • And Jeff loved what he did, and he did it for love, not money.

for the love of God

Used to express annoyance, surprise, or urgent pleading: for the love of God, get me out of here!
More example sentences
  • If I should ever be in a vegetative state and kept alive on life support, please, for the love of God, don't ever show me in that condition on national television.
  • Please, for the love of God, TELL ME WHAT YOU SAID!
  • And if you do break down, for the love of God, PUSH YOUR CAR INTO THE EMERGENCY LANE.

for the love of Mike

informal Used to accompany an exasperated request or to express dismay.
Example sentences
  • 'Cut it out and just take some normal pictures, for the love of Mike.’
  • He's my man-servant, not a plutocrat, for the love of Mike!
  • Forget pounds - why, for the love of Mike would you want to work with pounds?

love me, love my dog

proverb If you love someone, you must accept everything about them, even their faults or weaknesses.
Example sentences
  • I'm one of those people who has taken to heart the old saying "love me, love my dog."

the love that dare not speak its name

An allusive term for homosexuality.
First appearing in ‘Two Loves’, a poem by the British author Lord Alfred Douglas (1870–1945), the phrase is popularly associated with Oscar Wilde as a result of its use during his trial for homosexual offences in 1895
5.1Used to refer to a preference or practice reɡarded as unacceptable or taboo: a fondness for nuclear power was the love that dare not speak its name among green campaigners
More example sentences
  • For the LNP, privatisation could be the love that dare not speak its name.
  • One Tory MP has suggested that Europhilia on his party's backbenches was now "the love that dare not speak its name".
  • I have fallen prey to the love that dare not speak its name: I am in the thrall of a music that is not cool, never will be cool, and never has been cool.

make love

1Have sexual intercourse.
Example sentences
  • She no longer wants to make love, whereas before we had a very good sex life.
  • The idea was that parents loved each other, got married, made love, and babies resulted.
  • Being gay means that the ordinary relationship between making love and having children is severed.
2 (make love to) dated Pay amorous attention to (someone).

not for love or money

informal Not for any inducement or in any circumstances: they’ll not return for love or money
More example sentences
  • He has taken on an unselfish task, not for love or money, for the first time in his life.
  • This compromise I would not make, not for love or money or threats of a lonely old age.
  • Some guitars you don't let go, not for love or money… and this is one of them.

there's no (or little or not much) love lost between

There is mutual dislike between (two or more people mentioned).
Example sentences
  • There is little love lost between them, although mutual respect burns strongly.
  • Certainly there will be no love lost between not only the players of these two clubs, but also between the two teams' coaching staffs.
  • The fact that there is no love lost between champion and contender has added spice to their battles in recent years; they respect each other, of course, but that's about the limit of their mutual feelings.



Pronunciation: /-ˌwərT͟Hē/
Example sentences
  • The world has lost one of the greatest, most prolific, most original and most loveworthy mathematicians of all time.
  • I've only met you the one time, but I thought you seemed like a very loveworthy person.
  • The two twentieth-century theologians describe God with the German word, liebenswürdig, which nicely communicates the notion that God is both lovely and loveworthy.


Old English lufu, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit lubhyati 'desires', Latin libet 'it is pleasing', libido 'desire', also by leave2 and lief.

  • As you might expect, love is almost as old as time. The word's ancient root is also the source of Latin lubido ‘desire’ (which gave us libido (early 20th century)). Love is blind goes back to classical times, but first appeared in English in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th century. Lewis Carroll appears to have been the first to use love makes the world go round, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865—he may have based it on a French folk song with the lines c'est l'amour, l'amour, l'amour, Qui fait la monde à la ronde, ‘it is love, love, love that makes the world go round’. In 1967 the Beatles sang ‘All You Need is Love’, and a slogan associated with the weepie film Love Story (1970) was ‘Love means never having to say you're sorry’. The love that dare not speak its name is homosexuality. The description is by the poet Lord Alfred Douglas, whose association with Oscar Wilde led to Wilde being imprisoned in Reading gaol for homosexual activity.

    The use of love in tennis and squash for a score of zero apparently derives from the phrase to play for love, that is for the love of the game, not for money. A popular explanation connects it with French l'oeuf ‘egg’, from the resemblance in shape between an egg and a zero ( see also duck).

    One caricature of actors is that they all gushingly call each other ‘love’. In the late 20th century an actor, or anyone actively involved in entertainment, came to be a luvvy, a respelling of lovey, an affectionate term of address used since the mid 18th century.

Words that rhyme with love

above, dove, glove, guv, shove, tug-of-love

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: love

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.