\ 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for love

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her dad also joined in on the love fest and celebrated his daughter on social media. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 28 June 2022 The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is getting a hunk, a hunk of streaming love. Todd Spangler, Variety, 27 June 2022 Or the realization that love cannot protect her family from loss? Suzanne Berne, Washington Post, 27 June 2022 There's also growth and drama in their family dynamics, but the heart of the story is love on the beach. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 27 June 2022 And some people really do fall in love in San Francisco and find their heart, Tahtinen said. Robert Krier, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 June 2022 The newlyweds joined a growing army of Ukrainian couples who are speedily turning love into matrimony because of the war. Hanna Arhirova, ajc, 26 June 2022 There's no details yet on her love interest in the third film. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 26 June 2022 Local love:This Scottsdale teen competed on an award-winning cooking show Support local journalism. Jonmaesha Beltran, The Arizona Republic, 26 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The prime lens is a good fit for sports and wildlife work, and outdoor photographers will love its best feature—a 2.6-pound carry weight (2.7 with the tripod collar) and 9.3-by-4.1-inch barrel. Jim Fisher, PCMAG, 29 June 2022 That closeness brings more opportunities to love each other. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 June 2022 Not only does Drake land some nice lines himself (gotta love a Yellowstone shout-out), but 21 Savage is absolutely ferocious on there, stealing the song with one of his greatest guest spots to date. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 28 June 2022 And your kids will love this miniature version of the family favorite. Courtney Campbell And Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 24 June 2022 The first season of the Peacock show saw Reagan begin to assert herself in her friendships, expand her career and her relationship with her community and open herself up to love. Adrienne Gaffney, ELLE, 23 June 2022 Jerry Hall has spent decades in the public eye, being the long-legged, blonde model from Texas that the world has come to love. Logan Sykes, Town & Country, 23 June 2022 Those looking for a staycation in the heart of it all will love this sophisticated West Hollywood hotel located off the Sunset Strip. Anna Haines, Forbes, 20 June 2022 Seattle-area dogs will love to visit the Warren G. Magnuson Park off-leash area. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 17 June 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.

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

Learn More About love

Time Traveler for love

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near love



love's test

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for love

Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!