\ ˈləv How to pronounce love (audio) \

Definition of love

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child
(2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers After all these years, they are still very much in love.
(3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests love for his old schoolmates
b : an assurance of affection give her my love
2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea
3a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration baseball was his first love
b(1) : a beloved person : darling often used as a term of endearment
(2) British used as an informal term of address
4a : unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent sense 1a) concern for the good of another: such as
(1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind
(2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person's adoration of God
5 : a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love
6 : an amorous episode : love affair
7 : the sexual embrace : copulation
8 : a score of zero (as in tennis)
9 capitalized, Christian Science : god
at love
: holding one's opponent scoreless in tennis
in love
: inspired by affection


\ ˈləv How to pronounce love (audio) \
loved; loving

Definition of love (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to hold dear : cherish
2a : to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for
b(1) : caress
(2) : to fondle amorously
(3) : to copulate with
3 : to like or desire actively : take pleasure in loved to play the violin
4 : to thrive in the rose loves sunlight

intransitive verb

: to feel affection or experience desire

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Synonyms & Antonyms for love

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of love in a Sentence

Noun Mr. Brown seems to imply that when he retired he relinquished her love as casually as he dispensed with her secretarial services. — Ken Follett, New York Times Book Review, 27 Dec. 1987 … Eddie sees Vince's pure love of pool, and after years of thinking of the game as merely a hustle, the older man suddenly falls back in love with the game himself. — Maureen Dowd, New York Times Magazine, 28 Sept. 1986 Aunt Polly knelt down and prayed for Tom so touchingly, so appealingly, and with such measureless love in her words and her old trembling voice, that he was weltering in tears again, long before she was through. — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876 Allworthy thus answered: " … I have always thought love the only foundation of happiness in a married state, as it can only produce that high and tender friendship which should always be the cement of this union … " — Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749 Children need unconditional love from their parents. He was just a lonely man looking for love. Verb People loved him for his brashness and talent, his crazy manglings of the English language, his brawling, boyish antics … and I loved him, too, I loved him as much as anyone in the world. — Paul Auster, Granta, Winter 1994 Lying awake, listening to the sound of his father's breathing, he knew there was no one in the world he loved so much. — William Maxwell, New Yorker, 15 May 1989 I love either rushing off into abstractions, or shamelessly talking personalities. — Elizabeth Bowen, letter, 28 Apr. 1923 "Nay," said Elizabeth, "this is not fair. You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of any body. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well." — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813 She obviously loves her family very much. You have to love in order to be loved. He swore that he loved her madly. She said she could never marry a man she didn't love.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead of sticking to their plans, the two disembark in Vienna and spend the entire night exploring the city and falling in love. Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure, "34 Movies That Will Make You Want to Get Off the Couch and See the World," 3 Apr. 2021 In that story — which has many variations — a boy falls in love with a girl. Anna V. Smith/high Country News, oregonlive, "Members of Chinook Indian Nation liken lack of federal recognition to slow-motion ‘genocide’," 3 Apr. 2021 Surely one of these young people could’ve gotten out of their heads enough to fall in love. John Domini, Los Angeles Times, "Review: An Italian immigrant poker pro takes a gamble on — what else? — a Fellini-esque Vegas novel," 2 Apr. 2021 Attempting to expand his Illinois chapter, Hampton meets and befriends the young activist Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback), and the two soon fall in love. Graham Hillard, Washington Examiner, "Black Jesus," 1 Apr. 2021 Could anyone be in love ever again, knowing exactly what their partner is thinking about them? Rachel Handler, Vulture, "Made For Love’s Creators Talk Translating a Uniquely Weird Book Into Equally Weird TV," 1 Apr. 2021 Subjected to harassment, lesser wages and unwanted advances in a shadowy cigar factory, she becomes enraptured by books read aloud to the workers by a lector who quickly falls in love with her. Washington Post, "In Gabriela Garcia’s ‘Of Women and Salt,’ five generations of mothers and daughters fight to stay afloat," 30 Mar. 2021 His subjects’ motives and private yearnings, as with any in love, are hidden behind life’s beaded curtain. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "The Romantic Partners of Exotic Dancers," 30 Mar. 2021 Tatum, like some of his teammates, have been prone to fall in love with the long ball., "Jayson Tatum stopped settling for 3-pointers, attacked the rim, and took the Celtics to another level," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Talking to users and building a product that our users love is our highest priority at Popl. Frederick Daso, Forbes, "YC-Backed Popl Raises $2.2 Million To Create The Digital Business Card," 6 Apr. 2021 My husband and son love to jump off very high rocks and cliffs into the sea. Seija Rankin,, "High Anxiety: Rachel Kushner on the haunting of heights and horror movies," 5 Apr. 2021 Reviewers love the adorable colors this comes in and the soft, comfy fit. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "30 stylish lightweight jackets under $150 to transition into spring," 5 Apr. 2021 But love his other touches such as an appetizer combo of pigs in a blanket and lobster and corn fritters., "Five months later, it’s time for another Masters at Augusta National," 3 Apr. 2021 On top of all the main features that people love so much on other Echo Show models, the new Echo Show 10 has a large 10.1-inch display. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Last chance to save $40 on Amazon’s crazy new Echo Show 10 that follows you when you move," 2 Apr. 2021 Hundreds of shoppers love this porch swing because of its durable wood construction and timeless appearance. Bridget Degnan, Southern Living, "The Best Porch Swings for Every Outdoor Space, According to Reviews," 2 Apr. 2021 John and Irene Brunow love the outdoor tasting experience. Los Angeles Times, "Wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma will never be the same. Here’s why that’s a good thing," 2 Apr. 2021 MachineWe love this affordable 5-bar espresso machine. Lauren Corona,, "Best cheap coffee makers," 1 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'love.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of love


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for love

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English lufu; akin to Old High German luba love, Old English lēof dear, Latin lubēre, libēre to please

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Time Traveler for love

Time Traveler

The first known use of love was before the 12th century

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Statistics for love

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for love



English Language Learners Definition of love

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
: a person you love in a romantic way



English Language Learners Definition of love (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel great affection for (someone) : to feel love for (someone)
: to feel sexual or romantic love for (someone)
: to like or desire (something) very much : to take great pleasure in (something)


\ ˈləv How to pronounce love (audio) \

Kids Definition of love

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : strong and warm affection (as of a parent for a child)
2 : a great liking a love for reading
3 : a beloved person


loved; loving

Kids Definition of love (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to feel strong affection for He loves his family.
2 : to like very much She loves to ski.

Other Words from love

lover noun

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Comments on love

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