pla·​ton·​ic plə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce platonic (audio)
Platonic : of, relating to, or characteristic of Plato or Platonism
: relating to or based on platonic love
also : experiencing or professing platonic love
: of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex
platonically adverb

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Two Meanings of Platonic

The two most common senses of platonic come from the same source, yet are different enough in meaning that it is rather important to distinguish between them. The original sense relates to the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, or to his philosophy. It will always be capitalized. A secondary meaning that also stems from the name of the philosopher describes something (such as feelings or a relationship) that is characterized by an absence of romance or sex (a platonic relationship in this sense might simply be called a friendship). This sense alludes to Plato’s belief that love between people could be so strong as to transcend physical attachments.

Examples of platonic in a Sentence

Whereas in the more northerly clime of England the courtly lover of Malory and the Round Table tended to platonic adoration from afar, the Parisian woman already expected—and received—more earthly devotion. Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris, 2002
Relax. The Three Phils are strictly platonic. Yet three-pal business relationships are just as vulnerable to messy implosions as their romantic counterparts. Anne Marie Cruz, ESPN, 7 Feb. 2000
… before concluding that your PC is for work and not pleasure, try hooking up a couple of first-rate speakers and then planting yourself in the platonic ideal of the chair. Fortune, Summer 1998
They had a platonic friendship, not a romantic one. Our relationship was strictly platonic.
Recent Examples on the Web While speaking about the series, Duff gave fans a glimpse into the platonic pair's future, telling Vulture that despite those who shipped them, they were not engaged. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 2 May 2024 But Cecily—the newest venture from the team behind other Brooklyn beloved haunts like The Four Horsemen and Estella—is perhaps the platonic ideal of a modern neighborhood restaurant. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 The model and Palm Royale actor was spotted leaving New York City in the platonic ideal of an airplane ’fit. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 3 Apr. 2024 Stewart’s Abby learns that Harper never came out to her family, so the romantic couple is forced to act as straight platonic friends over the holiday visit. Zack Sharf, Variety, 20 Mar. 2024 Workingman’s Friend is the platonic ideal of a burger joint in several ways, serving heaping stacks of beef and toppings at low prices in a blue-collar atmosphere. The Indianapolis Star, 21 Mar. 2024 As part of their collaboration with the app, which also offers a platonic friend-finder feature, Bumble gave Brink, Chiles and Williams the opportunity to select another up-and-coming athlete of their choice to receive a Bumble NIL deal. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 15 Mar. 2024 Denzel Washington and Lenny Kravitz have been close friends for decades — so close, in fact, that the actor joked that their friendship may have transcended platonic boundaries. Wesley Stenzel,, 12 Mar. 2024 There are other ways to prioritize platonic bonds without cozying up to your exes. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'platonic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin platonicus, from Greek platōnikos, from Platōn Plato

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of platonic was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near platonic

Cite this Entry

“Platonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


capitalized : of, relating to, or characteristic of the Greek philosopher Plato
: of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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