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 platonically (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 Through the miracles of chemistry, UCO has designed the platonic ideal of the survival match with the Titan. Outdoor Life, "Four survival firestarters to stash in your pack," 14 Apr. 2020 The small house is a beacon of clarity and transparency—a sort of platonic ideal for existing in harmony with your surroundings. Jillian Steinhauer, The New Republic, "The Hollow Politics of Minimalism," 1 Apr. 2020 In July, Walton’s attorneys filed an answer to Tennant’s lawsuit, saying the interaction between Walton and Tennant at the hotel was purely platonic. Tania Gangulistaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "NBA: Insufficient evidence to support Luke Walton sexual assault allegations," 23 Aug. 2019 The book, which charts her love life (romantic and platonic) from her teens until now, centers strongly on female friendships and the highs and lows of travel—both on your own and with friends. Condé Nast Traveler, "Author Dolly Alderton on Growing Into Solo Travel: Women Who Travel Podcast," 25 Feb. 2020 Interpersonal Relationships Navigating relationships in college — platonic or romantic — can lead to problems for a generation that relies heavily on technology as a means of communicating. Jon Patrick Hatcher, Good Housekeeping, "College Depression and Anxiety Are Serious — Here's How to Help Yourself or a Friend," 26 June 2019 Your relationships, both platonic and romantic, were a huge part of the first season. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Summer Mckeen Is A Reality TV Star For The Snapchat Generation," 15 June 2019 More than one new platform has emerged during the coronavirus pandemic to help connect people looking for platonic or romantic relationships. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Online dating during coronavirus: Arizonans are meeting up on Bumble, OkCupid, other apps," 3 Apr. 2020 All the while, Logan Diffenderfer, who once dated Jordan but slowly develops relationships – be it platonic or romantic – with all four of the girls, remains in the picture. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "'Most Likely' review: 'The Bold Type' creator Sarah Watson writes inspiring YA political novel," 9 Mar. 2020

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

10 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Platonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for platonic


How to pronounce platonic (audio)

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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