\ 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 One thing that ties all these together is his love for the ocean. Scott Luxor,, "Boca Raton climate scientist’s new sea-level rise book focuses on path forward," 16 Apr. 2021 There's still some love for the 12-cylinder engine at Mercedes' Maybach arm, too. Annie White, Car and Driver, "This Week in Cars: Hyundai Santa Cruz, Q4 e-tron, and a Bentley," 16 Apr. 2021 Each of the new love birds brings large numbers of kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the party, which has made setting a wedding date difficult due to COVID-19. David Sharos,, "They dated briefly, then went 40 years without contact. Now they’re engaged. ‘People look at us and feel like they’re watching a Hallmark movie.’," 16 Apr. 2021 Jacob’s love of sports, especially baseball and football. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Lost for decades, a World War II hero finally comes home," 16 Apr. 2021 But the trend toward disenchantment has had one important exception, and that is when romantic love carries a political message. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: ‘Open Water’ Review," 16 Apr. 2021 Parker said soccer, not basketball, was her first love. New York Times, "Teammates in Brooklyn, Rivals in M.L.S.," 15 Apr. 2021 There is one constant in all of their content: an undeniable love for their children. Essence, "9 Relatable Black Mommy Influencers We Love To Follow," 14 Apr. 2021 Transparent, too, is Kerr’s love for all things spiritual. Lela London, Forbes, "Miranda Kerr On Making KORA The Estee Lauder Of Organic Beauty," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb People love to use online platforms for raising money. Mike Swigunski, Forbes, "How Cryptocurrency Will Transform The Future Business Forever," 17 Apr. 2021 People love to profit off of Black pain and tragedy. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Louisville police officer writing book to give 'inside story' on Breonna Taylor case," 15 Apr. 2021 Users love its vertical, space-saving design that makes this unit perfect for small patios and barbecue kitchens. Adria Greenhauff, Southern Living, "The 10 Best Barbecue Smokers for Pitmaster-Quality Meals at Home," 14 Apr. 2021 The gym, of course, the basketball players love it. cleveland, "Richmond Heights begins demolition of old high school; new school is ‘fresh and clean’," 13 Apr. 2021 Women customers love this stop, located along Interstate 49 in western Missouri. Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "These 10 great truck stops surprise travelers with everything from dog parks to bidets," 12 Apr. 2021 Ro and other Korean Americans love kimchi not just for its bright flavor, but for its health benefits. Christina Tkacik,, "From Seoul to Ellicott City: Whether you buy it or make it, kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine," 12 Apr. 2021 The judges love this new side to what Colin can do. Maggie Fremont,, "American Idol recap: Katy Perry declares a contestant 'dangerous' as the Top 16 is revealed," 12 Apr. 2021 In government and politics, members of both parties love to celebrate bipartisan spending boondoggles, but few are willing to question—much less accept responsibility for—the harmful consequences: financial dependency, deficits and debt. Ron Johnson, WSJ, "Spending Blowout Imposes Costs Beyond the Enormous Price Tag," 12 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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 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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