pla·​ton·​ic | \plə-ˈtä-nik, 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 , 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 feelings or a relationship that are 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

The Elton and Bernie story is my favorite platonic gay love story of all time. Patrick Crowley, Billboard, "Brandi Carlile's Pride Month Playlist: Emily Saliers, Culture Club, Janis Ian & More," 21 June 2018 Despite their feelings, Jane said the two remained platonic for many years. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Inside Stephen Hawking's Surprising Love Life—Including Trips to the Strip Club," 14 Mar. 2018 We the people' and the ability of ‘We the people' to govern ourselves as opposed to government by platonic guardians, including a five to four majority. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on why Trump appointed Judge Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 But more recent reporting suggests that the pair are strictly platonic. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selena Gomez & Justin Theroux May Be More Than Just Friends," 17 May 2018 Second, this is probably the platonic ideal of a VMAs dress: festive, colorful, and leggy as hell. The Fug Girls, Cosmopolitan, "The Fug Girls: 18 Best and Worst Dressed Celebs at the 2016 VMAs," 29 Aug. 2016 Similarly, fans have been annoyed that Albus and Scorpius’ relationship is strictly platonic, instead of a story of first love, as their bond feels so much closer than that of good friends. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "Anthony Boyle, the Maybe Bad Boy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," 5 June 2018 Two romantic comedies with similar star power (Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher versus Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake) regurgitating the exact same plot (mostly-platonic friends who sleep together) coming out in the exact same year (2011). Kathryn Lindsay,, "The Rom-Com Renaissance Is Here Thanks To Netflix," 22 June 2018 Natalie Portman has been vegan for almost a decade, and most of that time has been spent trying to find her platonic ideal of vegan ice cream. Alyse Whitney, Bon Appetit, "Natalie Portman’s Food Philosophies Mostly Involve Vegan Ice Cream," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for platonic

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for platonic

The first known use of platonic was in 1533

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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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Comments on platonic

What made you want to look up platonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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