\ ˈləv How to pronounce love (audio) \

Essential Meaning of love

1 : a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person motherly/maternal love fatherly/paternal love See More Examplesbrotherly/sisterly love Children need unconditional love from their parents.Hide
2 : attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship a declaration of love He was just a lonely man looking for love. See More Examplesromantic love unrequited love After all these years, they're still very much in love (with each other). [=they still love each other]Hide
3 : a person you love in a romantic way a lost love You never forget your first love. [=the first person you loved in a romantic way] He was her one true love. = He was the love of her life.

Full 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 Her post was met with love and support in the comments section, including from husband John Legend, who responded with a series of red heart emojis. Glenn Garner,, 5 Sep. 2021 In the span of an hour, Jerkins and Traxx cut the demo and presented it to Beyoncé, who fell in love with the record and cut it immediately. Alex Gonzalez, Variety, 4 Sep. 2021 Wine fiends who have visited Portugal’s Douro Valley have probably fallen in love with port tonic, the local cocktail made with white port and tonic water, and served over ice with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 The fifth-generation Floridian, who grew up catching alligator near Bradenton and cooking Southern food with his grandmother, fell in love with cuisine from the Crescent City as vice president of operations for BB King’s Blues Club. Phillip Valys,, 3 Sep. 2021 His mother, Djaka Bility, has stolen the show, beaming with love and spirit when cheering him from the stands. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 They are afflicted with a love for ideas that have repeatedly produced inconvertible failure and should be dead. Steve H. Hanke, National Review, 1 Sep. 2021 If waking up to colorful, patterned interiors—and the beauty of Acadia National Park just beyond their walls—sounds like your idea of a serene retreat, get ready to fall in love with The Claremont Hotel. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 1 Sep. 2021 Dennis is a dom, fearful of trapping someone in a power dynamic against their will, but with so much love to give. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 31 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 122 rooms feature tasteful contemporary décor with lavish touches and marble bathrooms, and guests love the on-site spa with its hammock loungers, Jacuzzi, and Turkish steam bath. Devorah Lev-tov, Travel + Leisure, 8 Sep. 2021 On a day-to-day basis, Booker’s and Baker’s will be the main whiskeys made at the Fred B. Noe Distillery, and the production process will stay true to what consumers already know and love. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 7 Sep. 2021 The sweet treat has the three classic layers that fans know and love but with an additional pinch of salt. Sabrina Weiss,, 7 Sep. 2021 Americans love a rags-to-riches story, but class barriers are far less permeable in France, and the film depicts — and later punishes — Lucien for taking a shortcut to the top. Peter Debruge, Variety, 6 Sep. 2021 Despite those things, this model of the MacBook Air is an incredible computer that the vast majority of users will love. Chris Hachey, BGR, 5 Sep. 2021 Naturally, the suits don’t catch his sarcasm, and love the idea. Kimberly Potts, Vulture, 5 Sep. 2021 Of course, the equity markets love easy money, and slower economic growth means the Fed will stay easy longer. Robert Barone, Forbes, 4 Sep. 2021 There are Iditarod and Yukon Quest teams that love to train on the Denali Highway. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near love



love's test

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Statistics for love

Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for love


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on love

Nglish: Translation of love for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of love for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about love


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