love

1 of 2

noun

1
a(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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

love

2 of 2

verb

loved; loving

transitive verb

1
: to hold dear : cherish
2
a
: 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
Phrases
at love
: holding one's opponent scoreless in tennis
in love
: inspired by affection

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Mitchel Musso, Cyrus' Hannah Montana costar, showed his love for the couple by posting a series of red heart emojis in the post's comments section. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 1 Dec. 2022 Decker, remembered for his outgoing personality and his love of high-end sneakers, had just become a father about nine months before his death. Melissa Chan, NBC News, 1 Dec. 2022 Mark Sullivan dedicated his life to his love, Denise Chapman, his Labrador retrievers and the land. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 1 Dec. 2022 Throwing a ball around, the pair bonded over their love of football — Freeman is known as an offensive guru — and their faith. Nick Alvarez | Nalvarez@al.com, al, 1 Dec. 2022 What painful wound still needs to be stitched up with your own love and attention? Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Dec. 2022 Even when their love drives them to do horrible things. Eric Rosenblum, The New Yorker, 1 Dec. 2022 April 2012: Kanye professes his love for Kim—how else?—in a song. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 Nov. 2022 Backbone Grill have been expressing their love of the restaurant, and of Spalding and Castle. Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Nov. 2022
Verb
This Field Barista Set from Snow Peak is the ultimate portable setup for those who love a good cup of coffee. John Thompson, Men's Health, 2 Dec. 2022 Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate One of California’s biggest draws is its mountains — and people who love them are always thinking about their next trip. Kate Galbraith, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Dec. 2022 Whether residents love or hate the attention this has brought to Boston, the city shouldn’t get used to this type of red carpet roll out, Raposa said. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Dec. 2022 Many Cardinals fans would love to see the former New Orleans Saints coach work for the team in the near future. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 1 Dec. 2022 Instead of having to sacrifice nutrition so dogs would love their supplemental treats, Pupper’s research and development team spent a full year just working on the taste and texture of their products. Rolling Stone, 1 Dec. 2022 So, this is a big game for us, and obviously would love to win it. Kelsey Conway, The Enquirer, 1 Dec. 2022 Parents who love to fish will appreciate this five-piece playset that encourages their little one to take up their favorite pastime. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, 1 Dec. 2022 After two scoreless overtime periods, Aozasa recalled the support and love her players showed each other entering the penalty shootout. Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near love

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

love 1 of 2

noun

1
: a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another
motherly love
2
a
: attraction based on sexual desire : the strong affection and tenderness felt by lovers
b
: a beloved person : darling
3
a
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
love of the sea
b
: the object of attachment or devotion
4
: a score of zero in tennis
in love
: feeling love for and devotion toward someone

love

2 of 2

verb

loved; loving
1
: to hold dear : cherish
2
a
: to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for
b
: to touch or stroke lightly
3
: to like or desire actively : take pleasure in
loved to play the violin
4
: to grow well in
the rose loves sunlight

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