adjective pla·ton·ic \plə-ˈtä-nik, plā-\

Definition of platonic

  1. 1 capitalized :  of, relating to, or characteristic of Plato or Platonism

  2. 2a :  relating to or based on platonic love; also :  experiencing or professing platonic loveb :  of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex

  3. 3 :  nominal, theoretical


play \plə-ˈtä-ni-k(ə-)lē, plā-\ adverb

Examples of platonic in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. … 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

  4. They had a platonic friendship, not a romantic one.

  5. Our relationship was strictly platonic.

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.

Origin and Etymology of platonic

Latin platonicus, from Greek platōnikos, from Platōn Plato

First Known Use: 1533

PLATONIC Defined for English Language Learners


adjective pla·ton·ic \plə-ˈtä-nik, plā-\

Definition of platonic for English Language Learners

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

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