love

1 of 2

noun

1
a(1)
: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
maternal love for a child
(2)
: attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
After all these years, they are still very much in love.
(3)
: affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
love for his old schoolmates
b
: an assurance of affection
give her my love
2
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
love of the sea
3
a
: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
baseball was his first love
b(1)
: a beloved person : darling
often used as a term of endearment
(2)
British
used as an informal term of address
4
a
: unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent sense 1a) concern for the good of another: such as
(1)
: the fatherly concern of God for humankind
(2)
: brotherly concern for others
b
: a person's adoration of God
5
: a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love
6
: an amorous episode : love affair
7
: the sexual embrace : copulation
8
: a score of zero (as in tennis)
9
capitalized Christian Science : god

love

2 of 2

verb

loved; loving

transitive verb

1
: to hold dear : cherish
2
a
: to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for
b(1)
: caress
(2)
: to fondle amorously
(3)
: to copulate with
3
: to like or desire actively : take pleasure in
loved to play the violin
4
: to thrive in
the rose loves sunlight

intransitive verb

: to feel affection or experience desire
Phrases
at love
: holding one's opponent scoreless in tennis
in love
: inspired by affection

Examples of love in a Sentence

Noun Mr. Brown seems to imply that when he retired he relinquished her love as casually as he dispensed with her secretarial services. Ken Follett, New York Times Book Review, 27 Dec. 1987
… Eddie sees Vince's pure love of pool, and after years of thinking of the game as merely a hustle, the older man suddenly falls back in love with the game himself. Maureen Dowd, New York Times Magazine, 28 Sept. 1986
Aunt Polly knelt down and prayed for Tom so touchingly, so appealingly, and with such measureless love in her words and her old trembling voice, that he was weltering in tears again, long before she was through. Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876
Allworthy thus answered: " … I have always thought love the only foundation of happiness in a married state, as it can only produce that high and tender friendship which should always be the cement of this union … " Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749
Children need unconditional love from their parents. He was just a lonely man looking for love. Verb People loved him for his brashness and talent, his crazy manglings of the English language, his brawling, boyish antics … and I loved him, too, I loved him as much as anyone in the world. Paul Auster, Granta, Winter 1994
Lying awake, listening to the sound of his father's breathing, he knew there was no one in the world he loved so much. William Maxwell, New Yorker, 15 May 1989
I love either rushing off into abstractions, or shamelessly talking personalities. Elizabeth Bowen, letter, 28 Apr. 1923
"Nay," said Elizabeth, "this is not fair. You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of any body. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well." Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813
She obviously loves her family very much. You have to love in order to be loved. He swore that he loved her madly. She said she could never marry a man she didn't love. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The people around the barn can be thanked for Pretty Runaway’s love of the jams, Purdy said. Paloma Chavez, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 The Liverpool-set series tells the story of two twentysomethings Elliot and Jess, best friends united by a bond of grief at losing Peter—the first and only love of Elliot and Jess’ twin brother, who went missing in mysterious circumstances five years previously. Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Feb. 2024 French Girl stars the two actors in a tricky love triangle with costar Evelyne Brochu in the titular role. Jack Smart, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 Co-produced by Ryan Tedder, its lyrics focus on themes of love and acceptance, and its accompanying music video shows Karol’s support for the LGBTQ+ community by sharing the screen with Young Miko as her love interest. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 15 Feb. 2024 Also flooded with resellers and ticket scalpers, the site crashed, leaving fans with less than a love story. Angelique Gingras, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 My experience in my community, experience in people, my drive to make a difference for my country, my compassion for the less ,love and experience dealing with our youth. Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 Feb. 2024 Cera plays Long Island farmer John, the love interest of Amy Schumer’s Beth, in the offbeat comedy loosely based on Schumer’s romance with her husband, chef Chris Fischer. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 On the other eight shows, my love interests were 10 years older; 20 years older; and, twice, older than my father at 25 years my senior. Diane Farr, EW.com, 15 Feb. 2024
Verb
The ones whisky fans love to explore and recommend. Mark Littler, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Reviewers love its outstanding quality at such a low price, with their favorite aspects being the vibrant color and thick memory foam. Micaela Arnett, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 Cal-Bear was absolutely adored by his big brothers and loved them beyond measure. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Complete Your Easter Duck Menu: Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake 11 of 24 Artichoke Flatbread View Recipe Vegetarians will love our Easter flatbread that takes advantage of in-season artichokes and bright veggies. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 People go to the movies to see the movie stars and love that. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 Studios is a company that’s run by people who truly love movies. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 16 Feb. 2024 Holidays & Occasions Easter Fun, practical, and egg-citing Easter gifts that all grownups will love. Amanda Ogle, Southern Living, 16 Feb. 2024 If your valentine loves jewelry and travels a lot, a travel jewelry case is a must-have. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English lufu; akin to Old High German luba love, Old English lēof dear, Latin lubēre, libēre to please

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of love was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near love

Cite this Entry

“Love.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/love. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

love

1 of 2 noun
1
: a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another
motherly love
2
a
: attraction based on sexual desire : the strong affection and tenderness felt by lovers
b
: a beloved person : darling
3
a
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
love of the sea
b
: the object of attachment or devotion
4
: a score of zero in tennis

love

2 of 2 verb
loved; loving
1
: to hold dear : cherish
2
a
: to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for
b
: to touch or stroke lightly
3
: to like or desire actively : take pleasure in
loved to play the violin
4
: to grow well in
the rose loves sunlight

More from Merriam-Webster on love

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