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

Other Words from platonic

platonically \ plə-​ˈtä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce platonic (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.
Recent Examples on the Web Our conversations are platonic but with obvious mutual undercurrent of chemistry. Globe Staff,, 8 July 2022 Frankie Alicea-Ford does nice work as BJ’s danger-seeking ex-boyfriend Richard, and Farah Dinga and Wilfred Paloma have some fun scenes as BJ’s platonic friends Rachel and Dennis. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 June 2022 The dating apps – even versions made for finding platonic friends, like Bumble BFF – were not tailored for finding LGBTQ friends. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 Although a source told PEOPLE that their relationship was completely platonic at the time, the pair has displayed an adorable amount of PDA since, from hand-in-hand strolls in New York City to sporting a couple costume for Halloween. Skyler Caruso,, 3 Mar. 2022 Contrary to my boyfriend's suspicions, my relationship with my friend always has been purely platonic. Washington Post, 23 May 2021 The accompanying cocktail, made with Boodles gin and poured tableside, is the platonic ideal of a martini. Mackenzie Chung Fegan, Bon Appétit, 15 July 2022 With his suburban fairy tale about a boy who bonds with a kindred spirit from space, Spielberg achieved the platonic ideal of an all-ages smash. A.a. Dowd, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 Dinklage trades in the customary prosthetic nose for his stature, which provides the impediment here to expressing his love for his cousin Roxanne (Haley Bennett), whose fondness for him is strictly platonic. Brian Lowry, CNN, 25 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About platonic

Time Traveler for platonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of platonic was in 1533

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near platonic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for platonic

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Platonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!