\ 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 Chipotle is sending some love to those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gabrielle Chung,, "Chipotle to Give Away 250,000 Free Burritos to Health Care Workers — Here's How to Get One," 28 Apr. 2021 The tunes definitely set the mood right for a night of love. Shelby Stewart, Chron, "Houston rapper Slim Thug gets romantic for new project 'SDS Vibes'," 28 Apr. 2021 Based on the new trailer (which was released this week), the couple take us on a journey of love. Dino-ray Ramos, Forbes, "‘Master Of None’ Season 3 To Spotlight Queer Women Of Color Love Story Featuring Lena Waithe And Naomi Ackie," 27 Apr. 2021 This labor of love aims for nothing less than a faithful recreation of how tequila was made 200 years ago. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, "The 21 Best Tequilas You Can Buy Right Now," 27 Apr. 2021 Others said that after the rancor displayed on the national political scene, they were inspired by the candidate’s message of love for all, including campaign rivals. Anne Kadet, WSJ, "All You Need Is Love, Says NYC Mayoral Candidate Paperboy Love Prince," 27 Apr. 2021 After years of putting her career ahead of love, stand-up comic Andrea Singer has stumbled upon the perfect guy. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Netflix reveals 32 original movies coming this summer – here’s the full list," 27 Apr. 2021 Kim’s outfit and his pre-show dog walking also got a lot of love. NBC News, "The best Asian pride moments from the Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 These lyrics are daringly raw, tying the freedom of love with the cage of mortality, exploring the inherent pain of soulfulness, and the awkward dichotomy of insecurity and explosion that makes the act of creation so pure. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Deadmau5 & Rezz, Porter Robinson & More," 23 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The rebuilding Bengals are going to attempt to have another draft class that’s comprised of players who love playing the game and can have an impact, similar to the successful 2020 draft class. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, "'It's not something you can predict': Bengals hope to break streak of top-pick injuries," 29 Apr. 2021 My new fiddle-leaf fig is going to love its new home! Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "Yes, nursery etiquette is a thing. Yes, there is a correct way to shop for a plant," 29 Apr. 2021 Gonna love hearing the name Urban Meyer uttered from Ohio State Country for his first big public splash as the Jags’ coach since coming out of retirement for the 55th time. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Overinflated Urban Meyer could learn from history in first NFL Draft," 29 Apr. 2021 Kids of all ages will love the themed spaces and fun programming available on the Disney Wish. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "The New Disney Wish Will Be the Most Magical Ship at Sea — Take a Look Inside," 29 Apr. 2021 Board members must love the families and communities that they are called to serve. oregonlive, "Herman Greene’s full response to The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Portland school board candidate questionnaire," 28 Apr. 2021 Here are thirteen gifts that mom is guaranteed to love. Amanda Lauren, Forbes, "Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Gifts For The Home Over $100," 28 Apr. 2021 That evolved in the 20th century to an annual in-person address by presidents, who love the attention. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "How the first 100 days became a standard by which new presidents are judged," 28 Apr. 2021 But for those who love to take pictures and then share them with friends, there’s a different way to actually share them. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Portable Photo Printer for Phones," 28 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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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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