pla·​ton·​ic | \ plə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce platonic (audio) , plā- \

Definition of platonic

1 capitalized : of, relating to, or characteristic of Plato or Platonism
2a : relating to or based on platonic love also : experiencing or professing platonic love
b : of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex

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Other Words from platonic

platonically \ plə-​ˈtä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce platonic (audio) , plā-​ \ adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web But the pair were discouraged by Public Enemy, who by 1988 had refined their own work to become something of a platonic ideal in that vein of political rap. Paul Thompson, Vulture, "Rap’s Most Imaginative Roads Lead Back to Shock G," 26 Apr. 2021 Justanorm was the platonic ideal of how rival models could create and monetize mutual support in a callous profession. New York Times, "The Tragedy of Harry Uzoka," 20 Apr. 2021 There’s no reason at all that platonic relationships should take up any less space in our lives than romantic endeavors. Laura Zornosa, Los Angeles Times, "The world is reopening and I’m worried. How will I hold on to the friendships I’ve built?," 7 Apr. 2021 And even though the day honours St Valentine, the patron saint of love, some of my best memories are of platonic affection. Elizabeth Gulino,, "My Love Language Is Having A Basic AF Valentine’s Day," 10 Feb. 2021 The platonic example of a horticultural genie that has escaped its bottle is the eucalyptus, introduced to California in the 1850s by Australian gold rushers who figured the then-scrubby landscape could use more trees for firewood. Kelsey Keith, ELLE Decor, "Yes, Anyone Can Make Their Backyard More Eco-Friendly," 31 Mar. 2021 The platonic ideal of a Lucille-ism comes in a flashback. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "It’s an Appreciation of Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth, What Could It Contain, 13 Best Moments?," 25 Mar. 2021 While the two have undeniable chemistry—both platonic and potentially otherwise—on screen, that doesn’t always hint toward a real-life friendship off screen. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Stars Marisa Ramirez and Donnie Wahlberg Have the Sweetest Off-Screen Friendship," 13 Mar. 2021 Dating giant Match Group, which owns Tinder, Hinge, and Pairs, among other apps, has also been chasing friendships and other platonic connections. Laura Forman, WSJ, "You’ve Got a Friend in New Social-Media Apps," 6 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'platonic.' 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 platonic

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for platonic

Latin platonicus, from Greek platōnikos, from Platōn Plato

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Time Traveler for platonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of platonic was in 1533

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Statistics for platonic

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Platonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for platonic



English Language Learners Definition of platonic

: of, relating to, or having a close relationship in which there is no romance or sex

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