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

Example Sentences

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
Tough love has been key for Dosunmu in his second season filling in as the starting point guard. Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 As an undergraduate at Emerson College in Boston, Mrs. Desmarais met and fell in love with Kenneth Desmarais, a classmate. Frederick N. Rasmussen, Baltimore Sun, 17 Nov. 2022 Of course, love can be an awkward topic—for some, practically painful. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2022 Later, where his love of Grande as both the music megastar and fragrance entrepreneur is a frequent topic. Emily Jensen, Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Nov. 2022 Beyond their thriving business, the Hendersons' shared that love of country is a defining aspect. Madeline Coggins, Fox News, 15 Nov. 2022 And then remember that the 16 songs on the album are bold, mostly guitar-heavy, melodic rockers that ebb and flow under the guidance of Lovato’s volatile emotional states and, really, where is the love? Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Foreigner will try to find out what love is one last time, with the veteran arena rock heroes announcing a farewell tour for 2023. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2022 Amid the pageantry of a social season, the pursuit of an eligible partner — and, in some instances, love — is a mashup of genteel historical romance and steamy 21st century fiction. Lauren Segal, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022
Verb
The club would love to find a taker for Gordon Hayward, who has never been able to stay healthy during his tenure in Charlotte. Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Nov. 2022 Western Kentucky would love a win against a foe from the Southeastern Conference. al, 18 Nov. 2022 Trolls love Twitter because its algorithms give their content disproportionate weight in the conversation. Roger Mcnamee, Time, 18 Nov. 2022 Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love these bright red wildflowers. Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel, 18 Nov. 2022 But the cooperative game still offers all the fantasy adventures that veterans love. Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 That would love to cheer along when Germany faces Spain in the group stage. Katharina Fuchs, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2022 But in any case, Leguizamo has a point: A lot of people do love the original Super Mario Bros. movie. Lester Fabian Brathwaite, EW.com, 17 Nov. 2022 Dana would also love a house with a big yard, a comfy bed, and patient parents willing to continue her training. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'love.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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
in love
: feeling love for and devotion toward someone

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

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