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love, n.1


α. Old English lufo (chiefly Northumbrian), Old English lufu, Old English luuu, Old English (in compounds)–Middle English luf, Old English–Middle English lufe, late Old English–Middle English luue, early Middle English leoue, early Middle English lufæ, Middle English lof, Middle English loff, Middle English loffe, Middle English lofue, Middle English louf, Middle English louo (transmission error), Middle English louue, Middle English lov, Middle English lovfe, Middle English lovue, Middle English low, Middle English lowe, Middle English lowfe, Middle English luff, Middle English luffe, Middle English lufue, Middle English 1600s lofe, Middle English (1800s– English regional and Irish English) luve, Middle English–1500s (1800s English regional (northern) and Irish English) loove, Middle English–1600s loue, Middle English– love, late Middle English lone (transmission error), 1500s looue, 1700s–1800s luive (English regional (Cumberland)), 1800s– luv (nonstandard); Scottish pre-1700 leuf, pre-1700 leuff, pre-1700 leuve, pre-1700 lof, pre-1700 lofe, pre-1700 loif, pre-1700 loiff, pre-1700 loive, pre-1700 loowe, pre-1700 lou, pre-1700 loue, pre-1700 louf, pre-1700 louve, pre-1700 lov, pre-1700 low, pre-1700 lowe, pre-1700 lowff, pre-1700 lowif, pre-1700 luf, pre-1700 lufe, pre-1700 lufee (perhaps transmission error), pre-1700 luff, pre-1700 luif, pre-1700 luife, pre-1700 luiff, pre-1700 luiffe, pre-1700 luue, pre-1700 luw, pre-1700 luwe, pre-1700 luyf, pre-1700 lwfe, pre-1700 lwff, pre-1700 lwif, pre-1700 lwife, pre-1700 1700s loove, pre-1700 1700s luffe, pre-1700 1700s luive, pre-1700 1700s– love, pre-1700 1700s– luve, pre-1700 1900s– luv.

β. Scottish pre-1700 1800s lo, 1800s lae, 1900s– lue.

See also lurve n.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with Old Frisian luve   love, Old Saxon luƀa   love, inclination, Old High German luba   love, inclination (also in the compound muotluba  , mōtluba   love), and also with Gothic (weak feminine) -lubō   (in brōþru-lubō   brotherly love) < the same Germanic base as Old Saxon luƀig   willing, pious, Old English lufen   hope, Gothic lubains   hope, and probably also lof n.   (and hence love v.2); these are probably all formed on the zero-grade of an Indo-European base, other ablaut grades of which are also widely represented in Germanic languages. Compare (from the e-grade) lief adj.   and the derived verb forms Old English lēofian   to be or become dear, Middle Dutch lieven   to be dear (to), to please (Dutch †lieven  , superseded by liefhebben   to love, to cherish, lit. ‘to have dear’), Old High German liobōn  , liuben   to make agreeable or dear, to be agreeable or dear, to desire, to do (someone) good (Middle High German lieben   to make agreeable or dear, to be or become agreeable or dear, to be pleasing (to), to show kindness (to), German lieben   to love, to be fond of), and also Middle Dutch liefde   agreeableness, affection, friendship (Dutch liefde   love), Middle Dutch lieve   agreeableness, affection, friendship, love, Old High German liubī  , also liuba   the pleasure that one experiences for or through something, agreeableness, fondness, kindliness, goodwill (Middle High German liebe  , in the same range of senses, German Liebe   love); the o-grade of the same base is probably shown by leave n.1, belief n., believe v.
Outside Germanic the same Indo-European base is probably shown by classical Latin lubet   (also libet  ) it is pleasing, lubīdō   (also libīdō  ) desire, Old Church Slavonic ljubiti   to love, ljubŭ   dear, ljuby   (genitive ljubŭve  ) love, Old Russian ljubiti   to love (Russian ljubit′  ), ljub′′   dear (Russian ljub  ), ljuby   (genitive ljub′′ve  ) love (Russian ljubov′  ), Sanskrit lubh-   to be confused, (later) to feel avid desire, to allure, lobha   (noun) desire, greed.
(For a very different account of the relationships among the various Germanic words, based on the hypothesis that leaf n.1   is also related, see F. Kluge Etymologisches Wörterbuch (ed. 24, 2002) at lieb, Laub, Lob, glauben, etc.)
In Old English usually a strong feminine (lufu  ); however, a weak feminine form (lufe  ) is also attested.
With use denoting a person compare leman n.
 I. Senses relating to affection and attachment.

 a. A feeling or disposition of deep affection or fondness for someone, typically arising from a recognition of attractive qualities, from natural affinity, or from sympathy and manifesting itself in concern for the other's welfare and pleasure in his or her presence (distinguished from sexual love at sense 4a); great liking, strong emotional attachment; (similarly) a feeling or disposition of benevolent attachment experienced towards a group or category of people, and (by extension) towards one's country or another impersonal object of affection. With of, for, to, towards.See also brotherly love at brotherly adj. 1b, mother-love n. at mother n.1 Compounds 7.

eOE (Mercian)   Vespasian Psalter (1965) cviii. 4 (5)   Posuerunt aduersum me mala pro bonis, et odium pro dilectione mea : settun wið me yfel fore godum & laeððu fore lufan minre.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: John (Corpus Cambr.) xv. 13   Næfð nan man maran lufe þonne ðeos ys þæt hwa sylle his lif for his freondum.
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Juliana (Bodl.) 95 (MED)   Hire feader feng on earst feire on to lokin ȝef he mahte wið eani luue speden.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 8   Man may him wel loken..Luuen god and seruen him ay..And to alle cristenei men Beren pais and luue bi-twen.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1865) I. 155   Wommen moste be ouercome with fairenesse and loue, and nouȝt wiþ sternesse and drede.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 20300   Vre leuedi wep, saint iohan alsua, Treu luue was omang þam tua.
?a1425   Mandeville's Trav. (Egerton) (1889) 2   What lufe he had til his sugets.
1485   Malory's Morte Darthur (Caxton) i. viii. sig. avv   He wende that al the kynges and knyghtes had come for grete love and to have done hym worship at his feste.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Sam. i. 26   Thy loue hath bene more speciall vnto me, then the loue of wemen.
1597   T. Morley Plaine & Easie Introd. Musicke Pref.   Adiuring me by the loue of my contrie.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 415   My loue to thee is sound, sance cracke or flaw.  View more context for this quotation
1611   Bible (King James) Dan. i. 9   God had brought Daniel into fauour and tender loue with the Prince of the Eunuches.  View more context for this quotation
1680   W. Temple Ess. Orig. & Nature of Govt. in Miscellanea 89   In all these Wars the People were both united and spirited by the common Love of their Country.
1680   A. Littleton Serm. at Meeting Natives of Worcester 16   What shall we say to those who take up Godliness..as if their strictness and zeal..excused them from all offices of love to their fellow-men.
1717   T. Parnell in tr. Homer's Battle Frogs & Mice Pref. sig. A3v   This particular Knowledge..which sprung from the Love I bear him, has made me fond of a Conversation with you.
1765   W. Cowper in R. Southey Life & Wks. Cowper (1835) I. 155   My heart was full of love to all the congregation.
1817   Times 29 Dec. 2   Liberalism, the love of country, the feeling of duty, have little to do with this extraordinary division.
1818   W. Cruise Digest Laws Eng. Real Prop. (ed. 2) II. 346   The natural love which Thomas Kirby bore to his brother.
1836   W. Irving Astoria I. 279   His dominant spirit, and his love for the white men, were evinced in his latest breath.
1872   J. Morley Voltaire i. 2   They should prove their love of him whom they had not seen, by love of their brothers whom they had seen.
1912   T. Dreiser Financier xxiv. 290   He was counting practically, and man-fashion, on her love for her children.
1940   Railroad Mag. Apr. 100/1   There wasn't much about Lang Bolton you'd call human except his love for a black and white cow-dog named Rounder.
1975   T. Callender It so Happen 20   Peace and love between we and them St. Judes men? Man, you mekking mock-sport!
1990   M. Martin Keys of this Blood 42   The two seminal and ineradicable loves of any individual human being are the love of God and the love of one's native country.
2004   Smithsonian Nov. 82/2   To speculate that he was trying to surpass his father and win his mother's love, as some psychohistorians have done, is to take the easy way out.

eOE—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. As an abstract quality or principle. (Sometimes personified.)

eOE   Cleopatra Gloss. in W. G. Stryker Lat.-Old Eng. Gloss. in MS Cotton Cleopatra A.III (Ph.D. diss., Stanford Univ.) (1951) 39   Affectu, for hylde & lufe.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) 2079   He hehte þat luue [c1300 Otho: lofe] scolde liðen heom bi-tweonen.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 99 (MED)   O reut [a1400 Fairf. petey], o loue, and charite, Was neuer hir mak.
c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. i. 146 (MED)   Trewthe telleþ þat loue is triacle of heuene.
a1500  (?a1425)    tr. Secreta Secret. (Lamb.) 135   Humylite Engendryth lowe that destrueth envy and hatredyn.
1557   F. Seager Schoole of Vertue in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 349   Loue doth moue the mynde to mercie.
a1628   J. Preston Breast-plate of Faith (1631) 8   Love and hatred are..the great Lords and Masters, that divide the rest of the affections between them.
1693   W. Bates Serm. Several Occasions v. 176   Human Love is a troubled irregular Passion, mixt with Ignorance, and prone to Error in the Excess or Defect.
1715   J. Barker Exilius Pref. sig. A3   Love is the Passion which generally attends Youth.
1798   J. Baillie Introd. Disc. in Series of Plays 62   Love is the chief groundwork of almost all our tragedies and comedies.
1809   S. T. Coleridge Notebks. (2002) III. 70   Love is a desire of the whole being to be united to some thing, or some being, felt necessary to its completeness.
1911   Ld. H. Tennyson Tennyson & Friends 122   He liked home-thrusts at human foibles and frailty, and again the outwelling of native nobility, generosity, or love.
1941   V. Woolf Between Acts 92   Love. Hate. Peace. Three emotions made the ply of human life.
1999   J. Wood Broken Estate 181   At its highest levels, the novelist's ability to penetrate the otherness of his characters is indistinguishable from love.

eOE—1999(Hide quotations)


 c. As a count noun: an instance of affection or fondness. Also: †an act of kindness (obsolete).

OE   Resignation B 116   Þonne ic me to fremþum freode hæfde, cyðþu gecwe[me] me wæs a cearu symle lufena to leane, swa ic alifde nu.
a1200  (?c1175)    Poema Morale (Trin. Cambr.) 314 in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 229 (MED)   Alle godel [read godes] laȝes hie fulleð..Þe þe þos two luues [v.rr. two loue, twa luue, two luuen] halt and wile hes wel healde.
a1450   Pater Noster Richard Ermyte (Westm. Sch. 3) 11   Alle þe loues þat euere were, or þat euere hadde fadir or modir to here childer.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Richard III vi. f. liiijv   All these loues, bondes and deuties of necessite are this daie to be experimented, shewed and put in experience.
1573   G. Gascoigne Hundreth Sundrie Flowres 330   No such trustlesse flood, Should keepe our loues (long time) in twayne.
a1616   W. Shakespeare King John (1623) iv. i. 49   What good loue may I performe for you?  View more context for this quotation
1632   W. Lithgow Totall Disc. Trav. v. 189   I met with an English ship..whose loues I cannot easily forget.
1695   J. Norris Lett. conc. Love of God x. 233   We are therefore to cast both these Loves into one and the same Chanel, and make them both flow in one full Current towards God.
1733   A. Pope Ess. Man ii. 35   We learn..those Joys, those Loves, those Int'rests to resign.
1795   C. Lloyd Poems on Var. Subj. 50   Those friendships, those loves, those emotions so dear, That thrill the young mind.
a1853   F. W. Robertson Lect. & Addr. Lit. & Social Topics (1858) i. 25   The same feelings and anxieties and loves.
1934   ‘L. G. Gibbon’ Grey Granite ii. 77   An antrin magic that bound you in one with the mind, not only the body of a man, with his dreams and desires, his loves, even hates.
a1968   T. Merton tr. Meng Tzu Ox Mountain Parable ii, in Coll. Poems (1977) 971   The moisture of the dawn spirit Awakens in us the right loves, the right aversions.
2002   Philadelphia Weekly 17 Apr. 34/2   The movie soundtrack has become the new hip canvas for artists to flex their cinematic loves and leanings.

OE—2002(Hide quotations)


d. In Old English (contrasted with lagu law): amicable or peaceable settlement (as opposed to litigation). Hence (in later use) occasionally rendering Latin foedus treaty, covenant. Obsolete. under love and law: denoting the position of being a member of a frankpledge.

lOE   Laws of Æðelred II (Rochester) iii. xiii. §3. 232   Þar þegen age twegen costas, lufe oððe lage, & he þonne lufe geceose, stande þæt swa fæst swa se dom.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 635   God gat it: a token of luuen [Genesis 9:12: signum fœderis] Taunede him in ðe wakene a-buuen, Rein-bowe, men cleped, reed and blo.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1869) II. 347   The gentiles vsede to caste downe the bloode of a sowe in to a signe of luffe.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1872) IV. 123   He..was receyvede in to the frendschippe of the Romanes, and the forme of the luffe and convention made was wryten in tables of brasse.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1865) I. 99   Hit [sc. Oreb] is called also the mownte of fere and of luffe [L. mons terroris et fœderis].
c1503   R. Arnold Chron. f. xxxij/1   Yf ther bee ony persone wythin the warde that is not vnder francpledge that is to saye vndir loue and lawe.

lOE—c1503(Hide quotations)


 2. In religious use: the benevolence and affection of God towards an individual or towards creation; (also) the affectionate devotion due to God from an individual; regard and consideration of one human being towards another prompted by a sense of a common relationship to God. Cf. charity n. 1.In theological discourse the love of complacency  [after post-classical Latin amor complacentiae (a1350 in a British source)] implies approval of qualities in the object, whilst the love of benevolence  [after post-classical Latin amor benevolentiae (13th cent.; a1350 in a British source)] is bestowed irrespective of the character of the object.

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: John v. 42   Sed cognoui uos quia dilectionem dei non habetis in uobis: ah ic cuðe iuih þætte lufu godes [OE Rushw. lufo godes] ne habbas gie in iuih.
a1200   MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 141   Ure drihten..forgiaf hire hire sinnen, for two þinge, an is muchel leððe to hire sunne, oðer muchel luue to him.
a1350   in K. Böddeker Altengl. Dichtungen (1878) 201 (MED)   Suete loue þe dude gredyn.
a1500  (▸1465)    Vision E. Leversedge in Notes & Queries Somerset & Dorset (1905) 9 34   In the name of our Lord Jhesu Crist and for that lof that he had vn to ȝou in the tyme of his passion.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) 1 John v. 3   This is the love of god, that we kepe his commaundementes.
1611   Bible (King James) 1 John iv. 16   God is loue, and hee that dwelleth in loue, dwelleth in God.  View more context for this quotation
a1629   W. Pinke Trial of Christians Sincere Loue Christ (1636) 84   Lastly, it will not be amisse to obserue two things of this loue of complacency arising from a perswasion of Christs loue vnto vs in particular.
1648   S. Rutherford Surv. Spirituall Antichrist xix. 20   We teach that the love of benevolence and good will is the liking, free delight, and choise of the person to glory, and to all the meanes, even to share in Christs Mediatory love.
1720   D. Manley Power of Love i. 71   Then it was, that she felt the Love of God.
1796   S. T. Coleridge Relig. Musings in Poems Var. Subj. 153   Lord of unsleeping Love, From everlasting Thou!
1836   J. Gilbert Christian Atonem. viii. 308   The death of Christ was the expression of Divine love.
1861   C. H. Spurgeon New Park St. Pulpit VI. 186   When Adam sinned, though God was merciful, he could not show love to one who had become a rebel; I mean—not the love of complacency—though the love of benevolence never ceased for a moment.
1876   J. B. Mozley Serm. preached Univ. of Oxf. ii. 29   Love in the Gospel sense is that general virtue which covers the motives.
1925   Woman's World (Chicago) Apr. 65/2   Teaching their children the love and fear of God and the joy of tasks well done.
1955   R. B. Braithwaite Empiricist's View Relig. Belief 18   Unless a Christian's assertion that God is love (agape)..be taken to declare his intention to follow an agapeistic way of life, he could be asked what is the connexion between the assertion and the intention.
1978   I. B. Singer Shosha xiv. 243   To me..you are my rebbe. Your every word is filled with wisdom and love of God as well.
2002   N. Drury Dict. Esoteric 295/1   In Sufism, total submission to Allah and love for him leads to the attainment of spiritual truth.

OE—2002(Hide quotations)


 3. Strong predilection, liking, or fondness (for something); devotion (to something). With of, for (also †to, †unto); in Old English also with the genitive.to give (also bear) love to : to be devoted or addicted to.

eOE   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) iv. xxviii. 362   Swa mycel getydnes & gelærednes to sprecenne & swa mycel lufu godcundre lare [OE Corpus Oxf. swa mycel lufu to godcundre lare; L. tantus amor persuadendi].
eOE   King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxv. 101   Ne fo we no & [read on] ða bisna & on ða bispel for ðara leasena spella lufan, ac forðæmðe we woldon mid gebecnan þa soðfæstnesse.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 4067   And for luue of ðis horeplage, Manie for-leten godes lage.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.) f. 317   Also þe bere loueþ hony most of ony þing, and he brekeþ trees & clymbeþ on trees for loue of hony combes.
a1500  (?a1425)    tr. Secreta Secret. (Lamb.) 218   Philosophie is no more but loue of witte and cvnnynge.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Edward IV f. ccxxxviiv   Blynde auarice and loue of money.
1611   M. Smith in Bible (King James) Transl. Pref. 2   For the loue that he bare vnto peace.
1688   W. Smith Future World ii. i. 113   Take notice how sillily one man manageth his love of Money.
1726   A. Pope in tr. Homer Odyssey V. Postscr. 278   Let our love to Antiquity be ever so great.
1773   H. Chapone Lett. Improvem. Mind II. 32   The love of truth, and a real desire of improvement.
1839   W. H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard I. i. i. 7   Under the name, traced in charcoal, appeared the following record of the poor fellow's fate, ‘Hung himsel in this rum for luv off licker’.
1877   W. E. Gladstone in 19th Cent. Nov. 547   The love of freedom itself is hardly stronger in England than the love of aristocracy.
1887   T. Fowler Princ. Morals ii. i. 11   Among these primary desires should be specified the love of ease and the love of occupation.
1888   C. Patmore in B. Champneys Mem. (1900) II. iv. 43   When I was about fifteen my love for poetry began to get the better of my love for science.
1911   I. M. Pagan From Pioneer to Poet ii. 31   The burlesque Taurean is fat, thick-necked, gross and overfed looking, and often has a great love of low comedy.
1952   ‘R. Gordon’ Doctor in House i. 9   His love for his old hospital, like one's affection for the youthful homestead, increased steadily with the length of time he had been shot of it.
1987   E. Feinstein Captive Lion iii. 64   Marina's interest in gypsies was part of her love of everything exotic.
2006   Vertical Dec. 72/2   Para-alpinists and climbers share a love of the environment and all that is steep.

eOE—2006(Hide quotations)


 a. An intense feeling of romantic attachment based on an attraction felt by one person for another; intense liking and concern for another person, typically combined with sexual passion. Cf. true love n. 1.

OE   Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxix. 20   Iacob him hyrsumode þa seofan gear for Rachele, & hit him þuhte feawa daga for þære lufe þe he to hyre hæfde [L. prae amoris magnitudine].
c1225  (?c1200)    Hali Meiðhad (Bodl.) (1940) l. 479 (MED)   Forte drahen his luue towart hire.
?a1300   Dame Sirith in G. H. McKnight Middle Eng. Humorous Tales (1913) 1   Reste neuede he non, Þe loue wes so strong.
a1413  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (Pierpont Morgan) (1881) ii. l. 667   This was a sodeyn loue, how myght it be That she so lyghtly louede Troylus Right for þe firste syghte ye parde.
a1413  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (Pierpont Morgan) (1881) i. 508   Now art þow yn þe snare That whilom Iapedest at loues peyne.
c1450  (?a1400)    Wars Alexander (Ashm.) 226 (MED)   Þe lede lawid in hire lofe as leme dose of gledis.
▸ ?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) I. 101   I hard a merle with mirry notis sing A sang of lufe.
a1593   C. Marlowe Hero & Leander (1598) i. 175   Where both deliberat, the loue is slight, Who euer lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost iv. 750   Haile wedded Love, mysterious Law, true sourse Of human ofspring.  View more context for this quotation
1691   R. Ames (title of poem)    The pleasures of love and marriage.
1738   J. Hildebrand Tryal of Conjugal Love i. 45   A Wife's Conjugal Love may..be try'd a little farther, than, in Conscience, it ought to be.
1769   F. Brooke Hist. Emily Montague II. cxx. 220   She opened to me all her heart on the subject of her love for Rivers.
a1849   E. A. Poe Annabel Lee in Coll. Wks. (1969) I. 477   We loved with a love that was more than love—I and my Annabel Lee.
1872   O. Logan Get thee behind me, Satan! 272   The woman who dares to put her heart out of the question, and without a thought of love to sell herself to a man whose material wealth she desires to share is—to put it mildly—a trafficker.
1950   W. Durant Age of Faith xxv. 702   At his court troubadours were encouraged to sing the joys and pains of love.
1979   B. Bainbridge Another Part of Wood vii. 133   Love does exist... All I know is it passes off.
2000   Daily Tel. 4 Apr. 15/2   Today, it seems obligatory that if you want to describe love you have to have two people humping around in a bed.

OE—2000(Hide quotations)


 b. An instance of being in love. Also in plural: love affairs, amatory relations.

1561   T. Hoby tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer iii. sig. Ii.i v   M. Francis Petrarca, that writt so diuinlye his loues in this oure tunge.
1589   G. Puttenham Arte Eng. Poesie iii. xxiii. 225   Nothing is so vnpleasant to a man, as to be encountred in his chiefe affection, & specially in his loues.
1590   E. Spenser Faerie Queene i. ii. sig. B3   Like a young Squire, in loues and lusty hed His wanton daies that euer loosely led.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Othello (1622) v. ii. 43   Oth. Thinke on thy sinnes. Des. They are loues I beare to you.  View more context for this quotation
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iv, in tr. Virgil Wks. 137   All the Rapes of Gods, and ev'ry Love, From ancient Chaos down to youthful Jove.  View more context for this quotation
1738   J. Swift Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat. 103   I suppose, the Colonel was cross'd in his first Love.
1767   R. Bentley Philodamus iv. ii. 42   Her loves with Bacchus, and her stellar wreath, Are allegorical, and mean no more Than the song tells us.
1844   B. Disraeli Coningsby III. viii. ii. 202   The sweet pathos of their mutual loves.
1849   G. P. R. James Woodman I. ii. 9   Tapestry..representing..the loves of Mars and Venus..did not in those days at all shock the inhabitants of the nunnery.
1895   A. Douglas Let. in H. M. Hyde Trials Oscar Wilde (1948) 360   There are several women in London whose friendship with other women does carry a taint and a suspicion, simply because these women are obviously ‘sapphic’ in their loves.
1933   D. Thomas Let. ?21 Dec. (1987) 67   You..dwell, unhappily but unbrokenly, upon the passing of juvenile loves.
1974   I. Murdoch Sacred & Profane Love Machine 81   Oh my sweetikin, how can such a love as ours stop?
2003   Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel (Nexis) 20 June (Weekend section) 13   The Carrie-Jack relationship doesn't have the spark of her past loves.

1561—2003(Hide quotations)


 c. The motif of romantic love in imaginative literature.

1717   G. Sewell Prol. in S. Centlivre Cruel Gift sig. A5v   This is her first attempt in Tragick-Stuff; And here's Intrigue, and Plot, and Love enough.
1781   S. Johnson Addison in Pref. Wks. Eng. Poets V. 46   The greatest weakness of the play is in the scenes of love... Yet the Love is..intimately mingled with the whole action.
1860   T. B. Macaulay William Pitt in Biogr. (2nd par.)   This piece..is in some respects highly curious. There is no love. The whole plot is political.
1892   Black & White 22 Oct. 476/1   [The] story turns..on murder and revenge, with a little love thrown in.
1932   B. L. Suzuki Nōgaku 19   A romantic play (jo or katsuramono), in which the chief character is a woman and the chief motive love.
1949   F. Towers Tea with Mr. Rochester (1952) 30   Must she also have a beautiful mind, to set her above other people and make her so fastidious that she wouldn't even let one got to a cinema or read a book with love in it?

1717—1949(Hide quotations)


 5. Sexual desire or lust, esp. as a physiological instinct; amorous sexual activity, sexual intercourse. Cf. to make love at Phrases 3a.

OE   Old Eng. Martyrol. (Corpus Cambr. 196) 22 Nov. 254   On þære nyhte þa heo wæs ingelæded on þone brydbur, þa sæde heo þam brydguman þæt heo gesawe engel of heofenum and se wolde hyne slean myd færdeaðe, gif he hyre æfre onhryne myd unclænre lufon.
a1300  (a1250)    Physiologus 514   In boke is ðe turtres lif writen o rime, Wu laȝelike ȝe holdeð luue al hire lif-time.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 185   A ȝongelynge..þat hadde obleged hym self to the devel for þe love of a wenche.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Vincent 13 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 259   Fals erroure, & lufe vnclene, & warldis dout als.
1567   in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation (1891) I. iv. 28   Hir licherous luife, quhilk kindlit ouer hait.
a1568   A. Scott Poems (1896) 27   A leddy als, for luf, to tak Ane propir page, hir tyme to pass.
1611   Bible (King James) Prov. vii. 18   Come, let vs take our fill of loue vntill the morning.  View more context for this quotation
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 99   Six Seasons use; but then release the Cow, Unfit for Love, and for the lab'ring Plough.  View more context for this quotation
1762   Ld. Kames Elements Crit. I. ii. 60   Animal love when exerted into action by natural impulse singly, is neither social nor selfish.
?1775   J. Lamb Poet. Pieces on Several Occasions 62   Lustful Love, inflamed had his Dame, She for him burn'd with an unlawful flame.
1828   J. Stark Elements Nat. Hist. II. 272   Both sexes, in the season of love, have the habit of calling one another by striking rapidly with their mandibles on the wood.
1860   W. Wallace Epicureanism vii. 131   It is not an unbroken succession of drinking feasts and of revelry, not the pleasures of sexual love,..which produce a pleasant life.
1925   W. Lewis Foxes' Case in Cal. Mod. Lett. Oct. 77   Ectogenetic birth will shortly supersede the present brutal rigmarole of animal love.
1965   New Statesman 1 Oct. 493/3   A straggly-bearded, myopic agitator earning a free night of love with Annie Girardot's golden-hearted whore.
1990   Boston Phoenix 27 Apr. b1/1   In an age when the lingering concept of free love collides with the call for safe sex, S/M is as popular as ever.

OE—1990(Hide quotations)


 a. A person who is beloved of another, esp. a sweetheart (cf. true love n. 4a); also (rare) in extended use of animals. Cf. lady-love n. 1.

c1225  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Bodl.) (1981) 557   He is mi lif ant mi luue.
c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. iv. 49   Rose, Reginoldes loue [c1400 A text lemmon].
c1450  (▸1369)    G. Chaucer Bk. Duchess (Fairf. 16) (1871) l. 91   And where my lord my loue be deed?
a1470   T. Malory Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll. 13) (1990) I. 359   He is my fyrste love and he shal be the laste.
a1593   C. Marlowe Passionate Sheepheard in Englands Helicon (1600) sig. Aav   Come liue with mee, and be my loue.
1600   W. Shakespeare Merchant of Venice iv. i. 274   Whether Bassanio had not once a loue .  View more context for this quotation
c1606   G. Wither Love Sonn. iii, in Descr. Love (1638) C 4   In Summer-time to Medley My love and I would goe.
1689   N. Lee Princess of Cleve i. iii. 10   With the Curtains half drawn, My Love and I lay.
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis viii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 442   One Heifar who had heard her Love complain, Roar'd from the Cave.
1729   H. Carey Poems (ed. 3) 135   I'll strip the Garden and the Grove, To make a Garland for my Love.
1772   W. Jones Poems 43   Told to their smiling loves their am'rous tales.
1792   J. Wolcot Wks. III. 259   Her feather'd Partner..Now for his loves pursues his airy way, And now with food returns.
1819   W. Scott Bride of Lammermoor ii, in Tales of my Landlord 3rd Ser. III. 19   It is best to be off wi' the old love Before you be on wi' the new.
a1822   P. B. Shelley Charles I v, in Wks. (1870) II. 394   A widow bird sate mourning for her love Upon a wintry bough.
1870   F. W. H. Myers Poems 92   She and her love,—how dimly has she seen him Dark in a dream and windy in a wraith!
1900   J. M. Barrie Tommy & Grizel xxv. 303   There are poor dogs of men..who open their letters from their loves, knowing exactly what will be in them.
1926   T. Hardy Coll. Poems (ed. 2) 126   When I've overgot The world somewhat, When things cost not Such stress and strain, Is soon enough..To tell my Love I am come again.
1955   R. S. Thomas Song at Year's Turning 31   Your love is dead, lady, your love is dead.
1995   Independent 11 Feb. 33/3   When we celebrate St Valentine's on Tuesday, I am hoping my love will join me in a Waggle Dance.

c1225—1995(Hide quotations)


 b. As a form of address to one's beloved and (in modern informal use) also familiarly to a close acquaintance or (more widely) anyone whom one encounters. Frequently with possessive adjective.

c1405  (c1387–95)    G. Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 672   Ful loude he soong com hyder loue [1477 Glasgow my loue] to me.
c1503   Beuys of Southhamptowne (Pynson) sig. F.ii   She sayde beuys loue dere, Ryde nat fro me in no manere.
1600   Wisdome Doctor Dodypoll iii. sig. D4   Why loue, doubt you that?
1600   Wisdome Doctor Dodypoll iii. sig. E4   Thou art growne passing strange, my loue.
1642   Fourtie Articles against W. Lang 8   That the said Lang doth affirm that the Book of Canticles in the Old Testament was but a kind of baudy Song, My Love, my Dove, my faire one, &c.
1757   D. Garrick Isabella iv. 35   No more, my Love, complaining of the past, We lose the present Joy.
1795   S. T. Coleridge Lines at Shurton Bars 85   How oft, my Love! with shapings sweet I paint the moment, we shall meet!
1812   T. Moore Young May Moon in Irish Melodies III. v. 18   The young May moon is beaming, love.
1860   C. Patmore Faithful for Ever iii. ii. 180   And there's another thing, my Love, I wish you'd show you don't approve.
1895   A. W. Pinero Second Mrs. Tanqueray iii. 104   Paula love, I fancied you and Aubrey were a little more friendly.
1920   ‘K. Mansfield’ Let. 17 Jan. (1993) III. 182   You were not made of steel. Oh, my Love, was I so heavy?
1957   J. Braine Room at Top vi. 52   T'lad's cum to enjoy hisen, 'aven't you, luv?
1966   New Yorker 29 Jan. 22/3   ‘Sit over here, love,’ he said as another actress entered.
1968   A. Clarke Darkened Room x. 126   The nurses called me ‘Luv’ or ‘Dear’.
1991   J. Cartwright To 1   Landlady: Stuff it man. (To customer.) Yes love can I help you?
2002   C. Newland Snakeskin ii. 23   The chance was too good to miss, luv.

c1405—2002(Hide quotations)


c. In reference to illicit relations: a paramour or lover (applied to both men and women). Obsolete.

c1405  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Knight's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 1448   Ne neuere wol I be no loue ne wyf.
?a1425  (c1400)    Mandeville's Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919) 103   Whan þei [sc. Amazons] wil haue ony companye of man..þan þei [have] here loues [?a1425 Egerton lemmans; Fr. amys] þat vsen hem.
1462   W. Barker in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) II. 277   He bydeth but a tyme þat he myght gete a summe of money to-geders..and to gon ther-with with a love of his soiornyng as yette in Hokehold.
1565   T. Cooper Thesaurus at Siue   Wheather this be his wyfe, or his loue, great with childe she is by Pamphilus.
1602   W. Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor iii. v. 73   To search for his wiues loue.
1613   S. Purchas Pilgrimage 768   They haue one wife, many loues.
1636   H. Blount Voy. Levant 14   Each Basha hath as many or like more Catamites, which are their serious loves; for their Wives are used..for reputation.

c1405—1636(Hide quotations)


 d. gen. An object of love; a person who or thing which is loved, the beloved (of); a passion, preoccupation. See also first love n. (d) at first adj., adv., and n.2 Compounds 1b(b).

1734   A. Pope Ess. Man: Epist. IV 180   The Lover, and the Love, of Human kind.
1754   Earl of Chatham Lett. to Nephew (1804) iv. 28   Make yourself the love and admiration of the world.
1818   Ld. Byron Childe Harold: Canto IV clxx. 88   In the dust The fair-haired Daughter of the Isles is laid, The love of millions.
1887   W. Carleton Farm Legends 94   He vaulted 'mongst the nation's honored sons; He was the love of all the living ones.
1968   L. Blanch Journey into Mind's Eye xii. 168   His last link with Princess Eliza Vorontzova who had been the love of his youth, of his life, it was said.
1976   D. Francis In Frame vi. 679   He'd missed weeks in the summer for his other love, which was sailing.
2000   N. Braybrooke in ‘I. English’ Every Eye Pref. p. x   His second love was sailing—but, there again, he felt he could never be a crack helmsman.

1734—2000(Hide quotations)


 e. colloquial. A charming or delightful person or thing.

1814   J. Austen Let. 23 Aug. (1995) 270   The Garden is quite a Love.
1831   Countess Granville Let. 28 Feb. (1894) II. 91   A pretty, tiny daughter, whom my girls think a love.
1837   L. Hunt Blue-stocking Revels i, in Poet. Wks. (1844) 103   Such doves of Petitions, and loves of sweet Pray'rs.
1841   S. Warren Ten Thousand a-Year II. 75   He's a love of a man, pa, isn't he?
1864   W. H. Ainsworth John Law I. Prol. vi. 76   Nankin has the tiniest teacups you ever beheld—perfect loves!
1889   ‘R. Boldrewood’ Robbery under Arms xxiv   What a love of a chain!
1936   ‘N. Blake’ Thou Shell of Death xiii. 230   Ah, a dotey little love she was.
1970   Reno (Nevada) Evening Gaz. 19 May 32/1   ‘What a love of a place!’ exclaimed prospective bride Vicki Scrivner.
1972   A. Bennett Getting On ii. 36   Be a love, Geoff, and tell them a story.
2002   Sunday Mirror (Nexis) 17 Feb. 7   Winston, her bulldog, pads in from the next room... ‘Isn't he a cutie, isn't he a love?’

1814—2002(Hide quotations)


 a. Now with capital initial. The personification of romantic or sexual affection, usually portrayed as masculine, and more or less identified with the Eros, Amor, or Cupid of Classical mythology (formerly sometimes feminine, and capable of being identified with Venus). See also Phrases 6b.

c1325   in T. Wright Specimens Lyric Poetry (1842) xvi. 53   To love y putte pleyntes mo.
a1350   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 50 (MED)   To Loue, þat leflich is in londe, y tolde him..hou þis hende haþ hent..on huerte þat myn wes.
a1425  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (1987) i. 353   For love bigan his fetheres so to lyme.
▸ 1435   R. Misyn tr. R. Rolle Fire of Love 102   Weil it is sayd in play: ‘luf gos before & ledis þe dawns.’
1566   W. Painter Palace of Pleasure I. xxxvii. f. 86v   Notwithstanding dame Loue is so fauourable vnto me.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost iv. iii. 356   Forerunne faire Loue, strewing her way with flowers.  View more context for this quotation
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost iv. 763   Here Love his golden shafts imploies, here lights His constant Lamp, and waves his purple wings.  View more context for this quotation
1697   D. Baker Poems upon Several Occas. i. 5   Cruel Love..makes thy faithless Vows serve for a StoneTo whet his bloody Darts upon.
1720   D. Manley Power of Love iv. 230   Love..had long owed him a Revenge for slighting and speaking irreverently of his Power.
1770   F. Gentleman Sultan v. i. 64   There is but one, one only pow'r, Almighty love, who could such tribute claim.
1805   W. Scott Lay of Last Minstrel iii. ii. 66   In peace, Love tunes the shepherd's reed; In war, he mounts the warrior's steed.
1859   E. FitzGerald tr. Rubáiyát Omar Khayyám lxxiii. 16   Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire.
1889   W. Allingham Life & Phantasy 7   Who could say that Love is blind? Piercing-sighted, he will find A thousand subtle charms that lie Hid from every common eye.
1913   E. Ferber Roast Beef Medium x. 263   There shall be no running breathless, flushed, eager-eyed, to the very gateway of Love's garden.
1952   Musical Q. 38 622   Death, using Love's arrows, causes tottering gammers and gaffers to become youthfully enamoured of each other.
2001   A. Shakar Savage Girl 153   Then the chip in my left brain crunched all the data,..and I told him, ‘Awake: Love is calling you’.

c1325—2001(Hide quotations)


 b. In plural. Representations or personifications of Cupid; mythological gods of love, or attendants of the goddess of love; figures or representations of the god of love. Frequently with modifying word.

1595   E. Spenser Amoretti xvi, in Amoretti & Epithalamion sig. Bv   Legions of loues with little wings did fly.
1608   B. Jonson Characters Two Royall Masques ii. 12   A world of little Loues, and chast Desires, Do light their [sc. the Muses'] beauties, with still mouing fires.
a1667   A. Cowley Verses Several Occasions 14 in Wks. (1668)    All around The little Loves that waited by, Bow'd, and blest the Augurie.
1734   J. Swift Strephon & Cloe in Beautiful Young Nymph 10   The smiling Cyprian Goddess brings Her infant Loves with purple Wings.
?1793   S. T. Coleridge Lines Autumnal Evening 49   A thousand Loves around her forehead fly; A thousand Loves sit melting in her eye.
a1839   W. M. Praed Poems (1864) II. 63   Where'er her step in beauty moves, Around her fly a thousand loves.
1866   A. C. Swinburne Sapphics in Poems & Ballads 206   The Loves thronged sadly with hidden faces Round Aphrodite.
a1891   A. Pike Poems (1900) 52   Let all the Loves Fly round thy chariot, with sweet, low songs Murmuring upon their lips.
1928   E. Strong Art in Anc. Rome II. xii. 40   The little loves riding on panthers and donkeys..are examples of that art of cælatura which aroused the enthusiasm of Pliny.
1966   Jrnl. Warburg & Courtauld Inst. 29 441   A great company of winged loves fly after her [sc. Venus].
1998   Early Music 26 253   In The Haddington Masque a month later, little Loves escort Cupid as his torchbearers.

1595—1998(Hide quotations)

 II. Senses relating to games of skill or chance.

8. A game of chance of Italian origin in which one player holds up a certain number of fingers, and another simultaneously guesses their number; = morra n.   Frequently in the play of love . Obsolete.  [Apparently after Middle French iouer à l'amour, lit. ‘to play at love’ (see quot. 1585), apparently a folk-etymological alteration of iouer à la mourre   to play morra (see morra n., and compare quot. 1653).]

1585   J. Higgins tr. Junius Nomenclator 297/2   Micare digitis,..iouer à l'amour,..a play vsed in Italy,..it is called there, & in France and Spaine, the play of loue.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Mourre, the play of loue.
1653   T. Urquhart tr. F. Rabelais 1st Bk. Wks. xxii. 94   There he played..At love [Fr. a la mourre].
1725   N. Bailey tr. Erasmus All Familiar Colloquies 205   The Countrymens Play of holding up our Fingers (dimicatione digitorum, i.e. the Play of Love).

1585—1725(Hide quotations)


 a. In various competitive games of skill, esp. tennis, squash, bridge, and whist: no score, (a score of) nothing, nil. Frequently in various formulaic expressions indicating the score of two contestants in a game (as fifteen love, six love, etc.). love-all: no score (yet) on either side (see also all adv. 10).  [Perhaps originally developed from the expression for love at Phrases 1e. For a variety of other suggestions see American Notes & Queries 2 (1963) 8–9, B. Oreström in B. Odenstedt & G. Persson (eds.) Instead of Flowers: Papers in Honour of Mats Rydén on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday (1989) 175–7.]

1742   E. Hoyle Short Treat. Whist i. 13   If your Adversary is 6 or 7 Love, and you are to lead.
1780   Gentleman's Mag. 50 322/2   We are not told how, or by what means Six love comes to mean Six to nothing.
1797   Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 380/2   As the games are won, so they are marked and called; as one game love, two games to one, &c.
1816   Jrnl. Cork. Hist. & Archaeol. Soc. (1901) 7 151   Mr Cashell was eight to love of the first game.
1885   Pall Mall Gaz. 2 Mar. 10/2   In the Rugby game Northampton beat Coventry by a try to love.
1898   Earl of Suffolk et al. Encycl. Sport II. 242/1   The marker's..duty is to call the game..from the start at ‘love all’... ‘Love’, in the game of rackets, as in other games, signifies nothing.
1906   W. Dalton ‘Saturday’ Bridge ii. 53   When you hold six or more cards of a black suit, thoroughly established, and one other card of entry, No Trumps should always be declared at the score of love.
1929   M. C. Work Compl. Contract Bridge p. xv   Any advice given for bidding, raising, etc., applies when the score is ‘love-all’.
1974   Los Angeles Times 20 Sept. iii. 1/1   When you get beat six games to love, it's called ‘The Bagel’.
1995   S. E. Grace in M. Lowry Sursum Corda! I. 624   ‘Love fifteen’ and ‘advantage out’ are scoring terms in tennis.

1742—1995(Hide quotations)


 b. Tennis. to love: (with reference to a game) with one player winning no points; (with reference to a set) with one player winning no games.

1880   Truth 12 Aug. 198/2   A server may be deadly if his service comes off on the first try; and if it does so for a few strokes, he wins his game nearly to ‘love’.
1925   Country Life 11 July 73/1   Mr. Jacob..lost the third set to love after winning a long second.
1996   Daily Express 26 June 68/3   Serving for the first set he was broken disastrously to love.
2013   M. Lawson Deaths viii. 257   Tom takes the first set to love.

1880—2013(Hide quotations)


10. A variant of the game of euchre (euchre n.). Obsolete.

1886   Euchre 41   Slam, Love, or Skunk.

1886—1886(Hide quotations)

 III. Other uses.

11. A thin crape or gauze material, formerly worn when in mourning; a border of this. Obsolete.See also love-hood n., love ribbon n. at Compounds 6, and love veil n. at Compounds 6.

1613   Edinb. Test. XLVII. 359   Tua elnis callit luf at aucht s. the elne.
1666   in W. M. Myddelton Chirk Castle Accts. 8 Jan. (1908) I. 140   1 pinner 2s 6d, 1 crape hood 3s 6d, 2 peeces of love 6d.
1751   London Daily Advertiser 21 Dec. in Notes & Queries 1st Ser. 10 206   A black velvet cloak with a love coarsely run round it.
1825   M. M. Sherwood Lady of Manor (ed. 2) II. x. 178   He was dressed in white, having a sash of black love.

1613—1825(Hide quotations)


a. Traveller's joy, Clematis vitalba; = love-bind n. at Compounds 7. Obsolete.

1640   J. Parkinson Theatrum Botanicum 384   In English of most country people where it groweth [called] Honestie; and the Gentlewomen call it Love, but Gerard coyned that name of the Travelours joy.
1657   S. Purchas Theatre Flying-insects i. xv. 95   Bees gather of these flowers following..In July..Love.

1640—1657(Hide quotations)


 b. Australian. A twining plant, Comesperma volubile (family Polygalaceae), having narrow leaves and masses of bright purple flowers. Also love creeper.

1874   J. Lindley & T. Moore Treasury Bot. Suppl.   Love, a name used in Tasmania for Comesperma volubile.
1894   J. K. Arthur Kangaroo & Kauri 26   Among Australian flowering plants, ‘Love’ is the pet name bestowed on a most beautiful little creeper bearing flowers of a lovely blue.
1942   C. Barrett Austral. Wild Flower Bk. 45   The stems twist spirally and it is difficult to separate the love creeper from its supporting plant without breaking or cutting them.
1947   A. H. Garnsey Romance Huon River 88   Tangled masses of the blue creeper known as ‘love’.
2004   Mornington Penins. (Austral.) Leader (Nexis) 9 Nov. 42   They uncovered several notable native plants that had been growing timidly in the shade of the dominant weeds including..love creeper.

1874—2004(Hide quotations)



 P1. In prepositional phrases, chiefly with for.
 a. In asseverations and imprecations.

 (a) for the love of: for the sake of, on account of. Frequently in emphatic declarations and exclamations, as for the love of God (see also for (also †fore) God's love at god n. and int. Phrases 1b). †Also for my (our, etc.) love : for my (our, etc.) sake. In later use only when some sense of the literal meaning is implied (chiefly in exclamations); in early use often merely idiomatic, corresponding to classical Latin causā, gratiā for the sake of (used both with a noun in the genitive, e.g. honōris causā, honoris gratiā for the sake of honour, and with a pronominal adjective, e.g. meā causā, meā gratiā for my sake, tuā causā, tuā gratiā for your sake); cf. also classical Latin pro amōre, used with a possessive adjective, e.g. prō amōre nostro for our love, and in post-classical Latin also with a noun in the genitive, e.g. prō amōre studiorum for the love of studies (6th cent.). With for the love of God cf. post-classical Latin Dei causa (late 2nd cent. in Tertullian), pro Dei amore (6th cent.). In Old English the noun was often in plural.

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxii. 51   Ic wille [þe oðewan] forlustlice for ðinum lufum [L. tui causa libenter].
OE   Blickling Homilies 23   Eal þis he þrowode for ure lufan & hælo.
a1225  (c1200)    Vices & Virtues (1888) 7 (MED)   I bidde and warni, for ðe luue of gode and for ȝuer lieue saule, þat ȝie hatien..ðes awerȝhede senne.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 14683 (MED)   For þin dedes gode..We wil noght stan þe..Bot for þine werkes gain þe lau And for þe luue o þi missau.
a1470   T. Malory Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll. 13) (1990) II. 891   We shall destroy all the knyghtes of kyng Arthurs..for the love of sir Galahad.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Placidus 163 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 74   Sa hyme, for þe luf of me, þat in my nam he baptis þe.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry V f. lxii   Required the Englishe lordes for the loue of God that the truce might continue.
1589   J. Jane in R. Hakluyt Princ. Navigations iii. 790   The Sauages came to the Island..and tore the two vpper strakes, and caried them away onely for the loue of the iron in the boords.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 826   Impose some seruice on me for thy Loue.  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) ii. iii. 82   For the loue o'God peace.  View more context for this quotation
1661   W. Ames Good Counsell & Advice 12   Let none have occasion to say, that for the love of your goods, your liberty or your lives, any of you have forsaken the way of truth.
1710   J. Swift Jrnl. to Stella 8 Dec. (1948) I. 115   I begged Mr. Harley for the love of God to take some care about it.
1786   S. Henley tr. W. Beckford Arabian Tale 96   For the love of Mahomet, my dear Fakreddin, have done!
1859   Ld. Tennyson Vivien in Idylls of King 115   A Table Round, That was to be, for love of God and man And noble deeds, the flower of all the world.
1882   Cent. Mag. Feb. 488/1   For the love of heaven do something for me or I'll die, so I will.
1913   J. London God of his Fathers 69   For the love of your mother, hold your say, man.
1941   E. Linklater Man on my Back iii. 41   Can you not see that bloody machine-gun there? And for the love of God put your sights up.
1960   G. Durrell Zoo in my Luggage (1965) viii. 173   Don't, for the love of Allah, let her get into the china department.
1999   D. Mitchell Ghostwritten 340   ‘Oh for the love of God you two,’ muttered John.

eOE—1999(Hide quotations)


 (b) colloquial. for the love of Mike  [probably showing euphemistic substitution of the male forename Mike (compare Mike n.4) for God] : an exclamation of exasperation or surprise; ‘for goodness' sake!’

1896   A. C. Ray Dick xii. 207   He sank back on the couch, remarking slowly to himself,— ‘Oh, for the love of Mike!’
1901   S. Crane in Home Mag. N.Y. Jan. 77/2   ‘For the love of Mike, madam, what ails you?’ he spluttered.
1909   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 21 Dec.   For the love of Mike, man, haven't you got a heart?
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses iii. xviii. [Penelope] 727   O move over your big carcass out of that for the love of Mike listen to him.
1925   T. Dreiser Amer. Trag. I. i. ix. 57   For de love o' Mike, will you listen to dat, now.
1934   J. Brophy Waterfront i. 14   For the love of mike..shut those blasted windows.
1941   Penguin New Writing 8 91   Well, for the luvva Mike!
1942   R.A.F. Jrnl. 3 Oct. 11   Tired? Well for the love of mike! What about me?
1957   A. MacNab Bulls of Iberia xv. 181   For the love of Mike, let's hope he's brave.
1999   J. Burchill Married Alive xii. 181   ‘Why wasn't she wearing any fucking clothes!’ I scream at the top of my voice. ‘Because she was under a waterfall, for the love of Mike—’.

1896—1999(Hide quotations)


 (c) for the love of Pete: see pete n. 1.


 b. for (also †of) all loves (also † upon all loves, † of all love): expressing a strong appeal or entreaty. Similarly (and now chiefly) for love's sake.

a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 20380   Whi wepestou, what is þe? For alle loues [a1400 Vesp. For felaured, a1400 Gött. For felauschip] telle now me.
c1450  (c1400)    Sowdon of Babylon (1881) 1587 (MED)   Sir, for alle loues, Lete me thy prisoneres seen!
1565   T. Cooper Thesaurus   Amabo..Of felowshippe: of all loues: I pray the: as euer thou wilte doe me good turne.
1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream ii. ii. 160   Speake, of all loues. I swoune almost with feare.  View more context for this quotation
1618   J. Ussher Let. in R. Parr Life J. Usher (1686) Coll. xxxiii. 64   I do intreat you of all Love, to look over the first Edition.
1624   R. Montagu Immediate Addresse 185   She..intreateth him that was worshipped vpon the Altar, of all loves, mercies, and works of wonder, to restore her vnto her health.
a1627   T. Middleton Chast Mayd in Cheape-side (1630) iii. 31   O sweet Father, for Loues sake pittie me.
c1646   in 2nd Rep. Royal Comm. Hist. MSS (1874) 87/1   [10l.] which I desire you of all love to pay upon sight of this my letter.
1655   J. S. tr. B. della Rovere Phillis of Scyros iii. iv. 63   For loves sake, doe not press me to relate So long a story now.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa IV. li. 257   For your own honour's sake, as well as for love's sake, join with me.
1793   C. Smith Old Manor House IV. viii. 196   Madam..begged him of all love to leave the country for fear of accidents.
1829   W. Whewell in J. M. Douglas Life & Corr. W. Whewell (1881) 133   Beg her of all love to establish herself in a more collegiate part of Cambridge.
1871   E. S. P. Ward Silent Partner iv. 86   Here a minute, for love's sake, Catty.
1906   B. Carman Pipes of Pan 51   Gentle spirit, grieve not so, for love's sake!
1925   A. Lowell Sword Blades & Poppy Seeds 132   Christine clung to him with sobbing cries, Pleading for love's sake that he leave her not.
1973   P. O'Brian H.M.S. Surprise iv. 62   Am I in childbed, for all love, that I should be plagued, smothered, destroyed with caudle?
1992   Ottawa Citizen (Nexis) 8 Sept. d8   Buckle up, for love's sake!

a1400—1992(Hide quotations)


 c. for love: by reason of love (often placed in opposition to pecuniary considerations). Frequently in to marry for love .

?1529   R. Hyrde tr. J. L. Vives Instr. Christen Woman i. xvi. sig. T. ij   They that marie for loue, shall leade their lyfe in sorowe.
1791   J. Boswell Life Johnson anno 1776 II. 45   [Johnson] It is commonly a weak man who marries for love.
1868   Sat. Rev. 14 Mar. 340/2   It is only the old-fashioned sort, not girls of the period pur sang, that marry for love.
1946   G. Hopkins tr. F. Mauriac Woman of Pharisees ix. 100   The dead woman was still in his eyes a heroine who might have died for love but would never have been false to her plighted word.
2005   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 6 Oct. 43/2   Lavransdatter′s..plot might be summarized as the story of a Daddy's girl who refuses Daddy's choice of a husband and marries for love.

?1529—2005(Hide quotations)


 d. for love or money: at any price, by any means. (Chiefly in negative contexts.)

[OE   Blickling Homilies 43   Ne wandige na se mæssepreost..ne for feo, ne for nanes mannes lufon.
c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. i. 101   And neuer leue hem for loue ne for lacchyng of syluer.
a1450  (?a1300)    Richard Coer de Lyon (Caius) l. 1484 in K. Brunner Mittelengl. Vers-roman über Richard Löwenherz (1913) 159   Neyþer ffor loue, neyther ffor eye.]
?1576   A. Hall Let. touchyng Priuate Quarell sig. G.iii   My Lords Balife wil haue carts for loue or money.
1590   C. S. Briefe Resol. Right Relig. 18   Then should not men eyther for loue or money haue pardons.
1609   T. Dekker Guls Horne-bk. sig. E3v   If you can (either for loue or money) prouide your selfe a lodging by the water side.
1691   T. Shadwell Scowrers ii. i. 11   This lewd Cozen of ours..has had all the women in Town that are to be had for Love or Money.
1712   J. Swift Jrnl. to Stella 7 Aug. (1948) II. 553   No more Ghosts or Murders now for Love or Money.
1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle II. lxxxvi. 251   I'll be revenged of you, if there be a man to be had for love or money.
1837   F. Palgrave Merchant & Friar (1844) i. 18   Any person who, for love or money, might be induced to take the letter in his charge.
1869   F. A. March Compar. Gram. Anglo-Saxon Lang. Pref. iv   He let me..use..Anglo-Saxon texts not elsewhere to be had for love or money.
1928   Times 30 Aug. 8/4   It appears to be impossible to get a hold of a useful rabbit-chasing ferret, for love or money.
1966   H. Davies New London Spy (1967) 93   Gigolos are unobtainable in London for love or money, but unemployed actors and male models may be had by the desperate.
1997   C. B. Divakaruni Mistress of Spices 248   You couldn't buy them from a dealer, not for love or money.

?1576—1997(Hide quotations)


 e. for love:  (a) without stakes being wagered, for nothing (applied to the practice of playing a competitive game for the pleasure of playing);  (b) (in extended use) for pleasure rather than profit (colloquial).

1678   S. Butler Hudibras: Third Pt. iii. i. 58   For these, at Beast, and L'hombre, [you] wooe, And play for Love, and Money too.
1813   Sporting Mag. 41 296   A match of..single-stick, was played..for what is technically termed Love and a Belly-full.
1823   C. Lamb New Year's Eve in Elia 63   I play over again for love, as the gamesters phrase it, games, for which I once paid so dear.
1843   C. Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) xxxii. 383   Mrs. Todgers..proposed that..they should play for ‘love’.
1879   H. C. Merivale Lady of Lyons i. 4   Points be bothered, I plays for love.
1930   Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 22 Oct. 8/3   She would be surprised to know that those games [sc. poker and twenty-one] were played for love.
1958   G. Greene Our Man in Havana (1962) 154   He really does all this for love. You see, I saved his life once.
a1969   J. Kerouac Visions of Cody (1992) 12   Jack Kerouac didn't write this book for money, he wrote it for love, he gave it away to the world.
2007   Northern Miner (Austral.) (Nexis) 30 Jan. 7   They were disappointed they were only playing ‘for love’ because scores wouldn't be officially registered.

1678—2007(Hide quotations)

 P2. In prepositional phrases with in, into, out of.

 a. to fall (or †yfall, also †be taken, caught) in love : to become enamoured; (in extended use) to become passionately attached to, dote on. Frequently with with (in Old English with genitive of person). Also in early use †to yfall (also be brought) into love's dance .With on in quot. OE   cf. on prep. 23.  [Compare classical Latin in amorem incidere, Middle French tomber en amour (1538; French tomber amoureux (1696)).]

OE   tr. Apollonius of Tyre (1958) i. 2   Þa ða se fæder þohte hwam he hi mihte healicost forgifan, þa gefeol his agen mod on hyre lufe mid unrihtre gewilnunge [L. pater..incidit in amorem filiae suae].
c1500  (?a1437)    Kingis Quair (1939) xlv   So ferr ifallyng into lufis dance.
?1515   Hyckescorner (de Worde) sig. A.v   Than in to loues daunce we were brought.
c1515   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) xlviii. 162   He was taken in loue.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 544/2   I shall fall in love with her.
1569   R. Grafton Chron. I. iv. 37   Locryne fell in great phancy and loue with a faire Damosell.
1580   J. Lyly Euphues & his Eng. (new ed.) f. 63v   Of which water who so drinketh shall be caught in loue.
1596   E. Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene iv. vi. Argum. sig. E8v   He sees her face; doth fall in loue, and soone from her depart.
1606   G. W. tr. Justinus Hist. xliii. 134   With the pleasantnesse of which, they were so taken in loue, that [etc.].
1675   J. Bunyan Light for Them that sit in Darkness 171   Can you behold a Crucified Christ and not Bleed, and not Mourn, and not fall in Love with him?
1724   M. Davys Reform'd Coquet 165   You are the first Woman under Thirty that ever fell in love with a grey Beard.
1768   F. Burney Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1988) I. 25   A young lady of fashion..has fallen in love with my cousin.
1785   E. Inchbald Appearance is against Them i. ii. 11   You are a fellow that falls in love with every face you see.
1833   T. S. Fay Crayon Sketches II. 7   The most wretchedly romantic youth that ever fell in love..and turned his face moonwards.
1887   H. R. Haggard Jess iv. 31   John Niel was no chicken, nor very likely to fall in love with the first pretty face he met.
1928   Daily Express 21 Feb. 9/2   There is a suggestion that he has fallen in love with a ‘shiksa’ (a Christian girl).
1969   E. Cleaver Post-prison Writings 23   I fell in love with the Black Panther Party immediately upon my first encounter with it.
1999   S. Orbach Impossibility of Sex (2000) 170   She feared that Charles and Maria would really hit if off; they would fall in love again, want to keep the baby, shut her out.

OE—1999(Hide quotations)


 b. in love (with) : enamoured (of), filled with love (for); (in extended use) very fond (of), much addicted (to). In quot. a1398: †in heat (obsolete). See also mad in love at mad adv. 2b   and madly in love at madly adv. 2a.  [With the spec. use in quot. a1398   perhaps compare Middle French en ameur, Middle French, French en amour (of an animal) in heat (15th cent.), which apparently originally showed the reflex of an unattested post-classical Latin variant of classical Latin hūmor arising by folk-etymological association with classical Latin amor.]

a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.) f. 146v   Whanne þe swan is in loue, sche secheþ the female and plesiþ hire wiþ byclippinge of þe necke.
?1507   W. Dunbar Tua Mariit Wemen (Rouen) in Poems (1998) I. 46   He is for ladyis in luf a right lusty schadow.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry i. f. 5   He would talke..of the stories of the Scripture, so sweetely..as I was woonderfully in loue with him.
1581   G. Pettie tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) iii. 140   A woman cannot possibly doe any thing yt may make her husband more in love with her, then to play the good huswife.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) ii. i. 76   I was in loue with my bed.  View more context for this quotation
1664   S. Butler Hudibras: Second Pt. ii. i. 20   Quoth she, Y' have almost made m' in love With that, which did my pitty move.
1690   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding iv. xvii. 347   He that believes, without having any Reason for believing, may be in love with his own Fansies.
1728   J. Gay Beggar's Opera i. x. 15   What, is the fool in love in earnest then?
1797   M. Robinson Walsingham III. xlviii. 19   She is in love with you, my noble fellow.
1828   T. B. Macaulay Hallam's Constit. Hist. in Edinb. Rev. Sept. 113   Its conduct, we are told, made the excellent Falkland in love with the very name of parliament.
1881   L. B. Walford Dick Netherby xvii. 213   He was not himself in love.
1896   A. E. Housman Shropshire Lad xviii. 25   Oh, when I was in love with you, Then I was clean and brave.
1911   M. Beerbohm Zuleika Dobson iii. 28   Her soul was as a flower in its opetide. She was in love.
1941   P. Hamilton Hangover Square ii. i. 52   He was head over heels in love with her as soon as he had a moment to be near her.
1969   J. McPhee Levels of Game 10   He is in love with his work. He knows the exact height and tensile strength of the corporate ladder.
1996   Rolling Stone 18 Apr. 80/1   They trudge dutifully through the tacky clichés of legal eagles in love.

a1398—1996(Hide quotations)


 c. out of love (with) : not or no longer in love (with); (in extended use) disenchanted or disgusted (with).

1577   A. Golding tr. J. Calvin Serm. Epist. Ephesians xli. f. 292   Thou bee so farre out of loue with thy sonne [Fr. tu es si desbordé contre ton fils], that thou art vnwylling too see him.
1581   G. Pettie tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) i. 10   Hee seemeth either too farre in loue with himselfe, or to farre out of loue with others.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) iv. iv. 202   I should haue scratch'd out your vnseeing eyes, To make my Master out of loue with thee.  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) iii. i. 173   I am so out of loue with life.  View more context for this quotation
1680   E. Fowler Libertas Evangelica ii. vii. 80   Atonement is..a most effectual means, to this farther End, the making us out of love with Sin.
1722   D. Defoe Relig. Courtship i. i. 5   What's the matter, that you are so out of love with the World all on a sudden?
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison III. xi. 83   Lord W.'s animosity to my father made him out of love with his name.
1796   S. Lee Almeyda iv. i. 52   I, like thee, Grow out of love with reason.
1814   M. Edgeworth Patronage I. ix. 278   Bellamy tells me the strangest story of her having been, since I left London, in love and out of love with John Falconer.
1867   A. Cary Bishop's Son x. 192   Perhaps every man who is out of love thinks pretty much after this fashion of his friend who is in love.
1890   J. Todhunter Sicilian Idyll i. 8   Hope shuns me: I am out of love with life.
1914   B. Carman Earth Deities 72   Whatever can have come his way To put him out of love to-day?
1955   R. Campbell in E. W. Tedlock D. Thomas (1960) i. 45   He was never out of love with his beautiful wife and muse, Caitlin.
1992   A. V. Roberts Morning's Gate xvi. 282   In and out of love with amazing regularity and unflagging enthusiasm, Polly was passionate about most things.

1577—1992(Hide quotations)


 d. to fall out of love (with) : to cease to be in love (with); (in extended use) to become disenchanted or disgusted (with).

1596   J. Harington New Disc. Metamorph. Ajax sig. Ciiijv   (I heard of a truth, that a great Lady that loued Parsnips very well, after she had heard how they grew, could neuer abide them) and I would be loath, to cause any to fall out of loue with so good a dish.
a1653   H. Binning Serm. in Wks. (1735) 284/2   God never begins to be pleasant and lovely to a Soul, til it begins to fall out of Love with itself, and grow lothsome in its own Eyes.
1701   R. Calder Schola Sepulchri 38   The belief of the Resurrection will teach us to fall out of Love with the World,..there is nothing in it but Vanity and Miserie.
1856   Littell's Living Age 5 July 34/2   No man falls out of love so safely as a man who falls in love with a beauty.
1877   Catholic World July 530/1   He was always falling in love with any pretty face that struck his fancy, and then just as easily falling out of love with an unwounded heart.
1915   Amer. Anthropologist 17 601   Despite our ingenuity, we do grow up, we grow old, we fall in love, we fall out of love.
2002   Times 11 Feb. i. 13/2   There are signs that voters have fallen out of love with the party.

1596—2002(Hide quotations)


e. in the love of: beloved by. Frequently in the love of God. Obsolete.

1631   J. Weever Anc. Funerall Monuments 417   He also departed this world, in the loue of all good men.
a1635   R. Sibbes Light from Heaven (1638) iii. 54   I know I am in the love of Christ: these are favours that hee bestowes onely upon his owne.
1647   S. Richardson Saints Desire Ep. Ded., sig. )(3   The people of God are in the love of God.
1664   W. Smith Briefe Answer unto Shetinah 28   We are in the love of God, and have fervent love to him, and one another.

1631—1664(Hide quotations)

 P3. With to make.
 a. to make love    [after Old Occitan far amor (13th cent.), Middle French, French faire l'amour (16th cent.; 1622 with reference to sexual intercourse), or Italian far l'amore] .

 (a) To pay amorous attention; to court, woo. Frequently with to. Also in extended use. Now somewhat archaic.

1567   G. Fenton tr. M. Bandello Certaine Tragicall Disc. f. 155v   The attire of a Cortisan, or woman makynge loue [Fr. femme qui fait l'Amour].
1580   J. Lyly Euphues & his Eng. (new ed.) f. 34v   A Phrase nowe there is which belongeth to your Shoppe boorde, that is to make loue.
1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream i. i. 107   Demetrius..Made loue to Nedars daughter.  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Hamlet (1623) v. ii. 58   Why man, they did make loue to this imployment.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) iii. i. 125   Thence it is, That I to your assistance doe make loue.  View more context for this quotation
1663   A. Cowley Hymn to Light ii   Thou golden Shower of a true Jove! Who does in thee descend, and Heav'n to Earth make love!
1695   W. Congreve Love for Love iv. i. 70   Nay, Mr. Tattle, If you make Love to me, you spoil my design, for I intended to make you my Confident.
1712   J. Addison Spectator No. 517. ¶2   The Widow Lady whom he had made Love to.
1768   L. Sterne Sentimental Journey I. 79   You have been making love to me all this while.
1784   R. Bage Barham Downs II. 318   You..may make love, and play your pitty patties.
1829   W. Cobbett Advice to Young Men iv. §181   It is an old saying, ‘Praise the child, and you make love to the mother’.
a1845   T. Hood Poems (1846) I. 213   Oh there's nothing in life like making love.
1860   Sat. Rev. 9 306   How often..do we make love to the charms of cousins and avuncular expectations.
1887   W. Besant World Went xiv. 112   He would crack the crown of any man who ventured to make love to his girl.
1906   H. Green At Actors' Boarding House 209   I thought I'd die laughing at his making love..and me with a husband doing his bit back in Auburn.
1927   L. Mayer Just between us Girls vii. 43   Honestly those nobilities can make love divinely.
1948   W. S. Maugham Catalina (1958) ii. 18   Her lover Diego no longer came to the window at night to make love to her through the iron grille.
1972   B. Everitt Cold Front v. 38   ‘Are we conversing or making love?’.. ‘Let's go into the slow lane for a minute.’
1991   S. Cisneros Woman Hollering Creek 153   Ay! To make love in Spanish, in a manner as intricate and devout as la Alhambra.

1567—1991(Hide quotations)


 (b) Originally U.S. To engage in sexual intercourse, esp. considered as an act of love. Frequently with to, with.

1927   J. S. Bolan Deposition in L. Schlissel 3 Plays Mae West (1997) 218   Jimmy embraces Margie LaMont and goes through with her the business of making love to her by lying on top of her on a couch, each embracing the other.
1929   E. Hemingway Farewell to Arms xviii. 114   Besides all the big times we had many small ways of making love and we tried putting thoughts in the other one's head while we were in different rooms.
1934   ‘G. Orwell’ Burmese Days iv. 54   Why is master always so angry with me when he has made love to me?
1950   M. Peake Gormenghast xxix. 173   One of the Carvers made love to her and she had a baby.
1967   B. Wright tr. R. Queneau Between Blue & Blue xiv. 151   When you make love on a bunk,..the man has to bump his head.
1971   Daily Tel. 15 Jan. 17/1   Couples who make love frequently are more likely to have sons than those who do so less often.
1986   D. Johnson Stars at Noon (1987) i. 17   Making love with him was like passing through a patch of fog.
1999   T. Parsons Man & Boy (2000) ii. 19   We were making love on the floor—or the futon, as Gina called it.

1927—1999(Hide quotations)


 b. make love, not war: used as a pacifist anti-war slogan or (more generally in other contexts) as an appeal for peace and compassion. Also in to make love, not war .Originally associated with protest in the mid 1960s (esp. amongst the hippie counterculture) against U.S. military intervention in Vietnam.

1965   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 12 Mar. 19/1   You've seen those bumper stickers... And the latest in Berkeley, protesting Viet Nam, simply say ‘Make Love—Not War.’
1966   Times 2 Sept. 12/2   They intend to distribute badges stating ‘Make Love, not War’—a slogan used by C.N.D.
1970   Washington Post 14 Aug. b1/1   People [at Woodstock] got together.., shared food, water and dope, enjoyed music and conversation and made love, not war.
1982   Times 27 Jan. 8/7   Dr Comfort..believes that it [sc. recreational sex] may drain away aggression, as in the hippy slogan ‘Make Love Not War’.
2005   M. O'Connor Bitch Posse xx. 158   All those big houses in the subdivisions are filled with former hippies who said Make Love Not War and Never Trust Anyone over Thirty.
2007   Daily Tel. (Nexis) 24 Mar. (Sport section) 10   Football is one of the few areas of national life where Arabs and Jews happily work and play together... ‘It shows people that we should make love and not war.’

1965—2007(Hide quotations)


 P4. (give, †commend, †remember) my love to — (also (with) love to — ): a formula requesting that the person addressed (in speech or writing) convey the expression of the speaker's or writer's affection to a third person (often used in the subscription to a letter). Similarly also to send one's love ; (with) love from — , and love (—) . Cf. give v. 6d.

1615   F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Cupids Revenge iv. i. sig. I4   As you finde him setled, remember my loue and seruice to his Grace.
1618   T. Sherwin Let. in S. Purchas Pilgrimes (1625) III. viii. 733   Remember my loue to all at Faire-hauen.
1630   J. Winthrop Hist. New Eng. (1825) (modernized text) I. 378   Commend me to all our friends. My love and blessing to your brother and sisters [etc.].
1635   in B. Cusack Everyday Eng. 1500–1700 (1998) 247   With Mr Gorges loue and myen to my daughter and your selfe.
1665   Earl of Marlborough Fair Warnings 3   I beseech you commend my love to all mine acquaintance.
1684   in B. Cusack Everyday Eng. 1500–1700 (1998) 220   May lowf to yow and Robert Goodien.
1742   Observ. Methodists 20   Give my dear Love to my dear Band Brethren.
1765   W. Cowper Let. 14 Aug. (1979) I. 111   My Love to all your Family.
1773   J. Wesley Let. 7 Oct. (1931) VI. 49   My wife sends her love; she has her old companion the gout.
1785   Lady Newdigate Let. May in A. E. Newdigate-Newdegate Cheverels (1898) iv. 67   Love from all here Adieu.
1793   W. Cowper Let. 24 Feb. (1984) IV. 298   With Mary's kind love.
1819   R. Southey Select. from Lett. (1856) III. 3   Love from all to all, and kisses as many as you please to give to the kissable part of the family.
1836   C. Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) ix. 89   Love to Tuppy.
1854   W. Collins Hide & Seek (1861) 183   ‘I will write and comfort your mother this very afternoon ——’ ‘Give her my love’, interposed Zack.
1875   ‘M. Twain’ Let. 23 Nov. (1917) I. xv. 268   We-all send love to you-all.
1911   W. Owen Let. 20 Sept. (1967) 83   Love to Mary and me brethren twain.
1921   A. Huxley Let. 21 Nov. (1969) 205   I will telephone or write about both these dates. Love from Aldous.
1949   D. Smith I capture Castle (U.K. ed.) xi. 188   Dear Cassandra, it was nice of you to write... Love from Neil.
1970   T. Southern Blue Movie iii. iv. 151   ‘Hans sends his love,’ Angela was saying, across the candlelit dining table.
2004   Daily Mail (Nexis) 11 Aug. 31   Give my love to Daddy if you see him.

1615—2004(Hide quotations)


 P5. to take (also nim) love to : to feel love or affection for. Obsolete.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) ix. 252   Ærest he him ondræt hellewite & bewepð his synna syððan he nimð eft lufe to gode: þonne onginð he to murcnienne & þincð him to lang hwænne he beo genumen of þyses lifes earfoðnyssum, & gebroht to ecere reste.
OE   tr. Vitas Patrum in B. Assmann Angelsächsische Homilien u. Heiligenleben (1889) 197   Ða gelicode him sona ðurh deofles tihtince þæs hæþenan sacerdos dohtor. Began þa niman swyðe micle lufe to hyre and to hyre fæder gewænde and hy him to gemæccan gyrnde.
c1440   S. Scrope tr. C. de Pisan Epist. of Othea (St. John's Cambr.) (1970) 66   Meede..took so greete loue to Jason that be þe enchauntementis þat sche couthe..made charmes & lerned Jason to enchaunte.
1694   N. H. Ladies Dict. 48/1   Another Dolphin, in the same manner, took love to a Child upon the Sea coast near to Pusoll.

OE—1694(Hide quotations)

 P6. Proverbial uses.

 (a) love is blind .  [The conception of love as blind or as causing blindness is widespread, and is found in antiquity in both Greek and Latin literature.]

c1405  (c1395)    G. Chaucer Merchant's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 354   For loue is blynd alday and may nat see.
1600   W. Shakespeare Merchant of Venice ii. vi. 36   Loue is blinde .  View more context for this quotation
1661   J. Glanvill Vanity of Dogmatizing xiii. 119   And, that Love is blind, is extensible beyond the object of Poetry.
1746   A. Arbuthnot Mem. Miss Jenny Cameron 110   No, no, said Jenny; though Love is blind, I never heard that he was deaf.
1848   E. Bennett Trapper's Bride xi. 94   Love is blind, says the old proverb.
1898   J. D. Brayshaw Slum Silhouettes 35   They say as luv is blind.
1965   J. M. Brewer Worser Days 166   I don't make love by the garden gate, For love is blind, but the neighbors ain't.
2000   J. J. Connolly Layer Cake (2004) 62   Aha, makes sense to you but love is blind, my friend.

c1405—2000(Hide quotations)


 (b) all's fair in love and war and variants.

[1578   J. Lyly Euphues f. 31v   Anye impietie may lawfully be committed in loue, which is lawlesse.]
1620   T. Shelton tr. M. de Cervantes 2nd Pt. Don Quixote xxi. 138   Loue and warre are all one [Sp. el amor y la guerra son vna misma cosa]: and as in warre it is lawful to vse sleights and stratagems to ouercome the enemy: So in amorous strifes and competencies, Impostures and iuggling tricks are held for good, to attaine to the wished end.
1717   W. Taverner Artful Husband (new ed.) ii. 38   All advantages are fair in Love and War.
1789   Relapse I. xvi. 140   Tho' this was a confounded lie, my friend, ‘all is fair in love and war’.
1845   G. P. R. James Smuggler I. iv. 95   In love and war, every stratagem is fair, they say.
1850   F. E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh xlix. 434   All's fair in love and war, you know.
1905   Washington Post 9 June 2/5   New Yorker so busy wooing he forgot he had no funds. ‘All is fair in love and war,’ holds good in fiction, but not in the eyes of the police.
1979   ‘J. Gash’ Grail Tree v. 45   All's fair in love, war and antiques.
2005   Cosmopolitan Aug. 218/1   All's fair in love and war, so flick the trip switch in the fuse box. Without electricity, he's forced to surrender his console and get back to basics.

1620—2005(Hide quotations)


 b. In various other proverbs and proverbial phrases.See also the love of money is the root of all evil at money n. Phrases 3a; to be off with the old love (before one is on with the new) at off adv. 4c; praise the child and you make love to the mother at praise v. 3b(b).  [With love and a cough cannot be hid compare Middle French amour ne puet estre celee love cannot be hidden (14th cent.).]

1474   W. Caxton tr. Game & Playe of Chesse (1883) iii. iii. 97   Herof men saye a comyn prouerbe in england, that loue lasteth as longe as the money endureth.
▸ ?a1500   R. Henryson tr. Æsop Fables: Cock & Fox l. 512 in Poems (1981) 23   The prouerb sayis, ‘Als gude lufe cummis as gais.’
a1513   R. Fabyan New Cronycles Eng. & Fraunce (1516) I. cxv. f. liii   Hote Loue is soone colde.
1573   J. Sanford tr. L. Guicciardini Garden of Pleasure f. 98v   Foure things cannot be kept close, Loue, the cough, fyre, and sorrowe.
1584   R. Greene Morando sig. B.ivv   Loue doth much but money doth all.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Amour   Loue, and the Cough cannot be hidden.
a1618   W. Raleigh Remains (1664) 35   Love needs no teaching.
1678   J. Ray Coll. Eng. Prov. (ed. 2) 55   Love ne're delights in a sorrowful man.
1732   T. Fuller Gnomologia 140   Love and Pride stock Bedlam.
1777   C. Dibdin Quaker i. viii. 16   According unto the proverb, love maketh a wit of the fool.
1863   ‘G. Eliot’ Romola I. i. i. 102   If there are two things not to be hidden—love and a cough—I say there is a third, and that is ignorance.
1881   Appanoose (Iowa) Times 14 Apr. 1/4   It is said that love conquers all things.
1941   A. Kreymborg Poetic Drama Introd. 4   ‘The path of true love never runs smooth’ in the drama.
1994   R. Davies Cunning Man 458   Love and a cough cannot be hid.
2007   EveningNews (Edinb.) (Nexis) 8 Mar. 1   Many people say ‘love conquers all’ but that's not always true.

1474—2007(Hide quotations)

 P7. there's no love lost between them (also us, etc.) .

a. In a positive sense: ‘their (our, etc.) affection is mutual’. Obsolete.

1600   B. Jonson Every Man out of his Humor ii. i. sig. E.ii   Car... Hee loues you well Signior. Sog. There shall be no loue lost Sir.  View more context for this quotation
c1640   R. Davenport Surv. Sci. in Wks. (1890) 327   Oh my sweete! Sure there is no loue lost when you two meete.
1696   W. Bates Acct. Life P. Henry (1699) 8   Dr. Busby..took a particular Kindness to him,..and there was no Love lost betwixt them.
1706   P. Motteux Don Quixote (1749) III. 266   I love him well, and there's no love lost between us.
1749   T. Smollett tr. A. R. Le Sage Gil Blas III. ix. vii. 229   I have a friendship for you..And I can assure thee, child, (said I), there is no love lost [Fr. que tu n'aimes pas un ingrat].
1773   O. Goldsmith She stoops to Conquer iv. 77   As for murmurs, mother, we grumble a little now and then, to be sure. But there's no love lost between us.
1824   N. Drake Noontide Leisure II. 54   Give me your hand..and let me tell you..there is no love lost between us.
1828   C. Lamb New Year's Coming of Age in Elia 2nd Ser. 8   There was no love lost for that matter.
1839   S. Lover Hall Porter ii. i. 17   I'm obleeged to you, Misther Bowlt; and in throth there's no love lost between us, for I respect you, and always did.

1600—1839(Hide quotations)


 b. In a negative sense: ‘they (we, etc.) have no love for each other’.

?1622   J. Taylor Trav. Twelve-pence in Wks. (1630) i. 71   They loue me not, which makes 'em quickly spend me. But there's no great loue lost 'twixt them and mee, We keepe asunder and so best agree.
1751   S. Richardson Clarissa (ed. 3) III. xxv. 134   He must needs say, there was no love lost between some of my family and him; but he had not deserved of them what they had of him.
1797   Posthumous Daughter I. xlii. 217   I do not like him at all, and I believe there is no love lost between us.
1858   W. M. Thackeray Virginians I. xvii. 134   There was not a great deal of love lost between Will and his half-sister.
1866   W. D. Howells Venetian Life 121   Americans do not like these people and I believe there is no love lost on the other side.
1889   T. A. Trollope What I Remember III. 91   Between Italian and French radicals there is really no love lost.
1916   J. Buchan Greenmantle xiii. 203   Once or twice he ran counter to Moellendorff, and I could see there was no love lost between these two.
1956   J. Lister Cent. of Conflict xvi. 273   There was no love lost between the seamen and soldiers of the mother country and the colonists, and the sooner the expedition moved on, the happier everyone would be.
1997   ‘Q’ Deadmeat 54   There was no love lost between the two of us. We'd never got on.

?1622—1997(Hide quotations)


 P8. love at first sight: the action or state of falling instantly in love with someone whom (or, by extension, something which) one has never previously seen.

[a1413  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (Pierpont Morgan) (1881) ii. l. 668   How myght it be That she so lyghtly louede Troylus Right for þe firste syght.
a1593   C. Marlowe Hero & Leander (1598) i. 175   Where both deliberat, the loue is slight, Who euer lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?]
1664   T. Killigrew Comedies & Trag. (title)    The princesse: or, Love at first sight.
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison IV. xviii. 144   Love at first sight, answered Sir Charles, must indicate a mind prepared for impression, and a sudden gust of passion.
1797   T. Holcroft Adventures Hugh Trevor V. vi. 70   Why this seems like love at first sight!
1822   W. Hazlitt Table-talk II. xvi. 354   I do not think that what is called Love at first sight is so great an absurdity as it is sometimes imagined to be.
1839   C. Brontë Let. 4 Aug. in E. C. Gaskell Life C. Brontë (1857) I. viii. 199   Well! thought I, I have heard of love at first sight, but this beats all!
1868   W. Collins Moonstone I. i. vii. 91   You have heard of beautiful young ladies falling in love at first sight, and have thought it natural enough.
1952   Scrutiny 18 273   We know that what we have here is no drama of romantic love-at-first-sight.
1961   C. McCullers Clock without Hands iv. 89   In early youth, love at first sight, that epitome of passion, turns you into a zombie.
1975   D. Bagley Snow Tiger xvi. 138   Don't you believe in love at first sight?
2005   Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 12 Feb. (Life section) 4/4   Phenylethylamine (PEA): A neurotransmitter which often causes the lover's ‘high’ many interpret as love at first sight.

1664—2005(Hide quotations)


 P9. love's young dream: the idealized relationship of young lovers; the object of someone's love, a person regarded as the perfect lover; (also, sometimes depreciatively) the lovers themselves.

1819   Times 24 Sept. 1/1   A concert, selected from the Scotch and Irish Melodies... Song, ‘Love's young Dream’.
1821   T. Moore Love's Young Dream in Irish Melodies i. 77   But there's nothing half so sweet in life, As love's young dream!
1898   J. K. Jerome Second Thoughts 155   The stout lady, now regarded as a would-be blighter of love's young dream, was hustled into the back seat.
1920   J. Galsworthy Skin Game i. 33   I don't mean any tosh about love's young dream; but I do like being friends.
1937   D. L. Sayers Busman's Honeymoon xv. 307   There now!.. If there ain't love's young dream a-comin' up the path.
1960   B. Kops Dream of Peter Mann 54   Look at them, love's young dream.
1974   P. G. Wodehouse Aunts aren't Gentlemen iii. 20   I was helping a pal to celebrate the happy conclusion of love's young dream, and it may be that I became a mite polluted.
2001   J. Paisley Not for Glory 54   Noo I hink we shouldnae make nae mair noise an disturb love's young dream up aheid.

1819—2001(Hide quotations)


 P10. euphemistic love in a cottage: marriage with insufficient means.

1745   C. Coffey Devil upon Two Sticks i. vi. 34   Love in a Cottage contentedly flows, And e'ery dear Minute is blest.
1763   G. Colman Deuce is in Him i. 9   To talk of living on bread and water, and the comforts of love in a cottage.
1812   M. Edgeworth Absentee iv, in Tales Fashionable Life V. 302   Lady Clonbrony had not..the slightest notion, how anybody..could prefer, to a good house..and a proper establishment, what is called love in a cottage.
1878   Scribner's Monthly Dec. 274/1   Young people tried love in a cottage, and dwelt in dove-cotes beside their prouder kinsfolk.
1894   H. H. Gardener Unofficial Patriot 239   Here's more love in a cottage business for you.
1938   W. Empson Eng. Pastoral Poetry i. 55   She had chosen love in a cottage and could stick to it.
1954   J. A. Banks Prosperity & Parenthood viii. 116   George Vavasor, Phineas Finn, and Frank Greystock were not faced with the dilemma of love in a cottage versus luxury in the hall.
2006   Times (Nexis) 1 July 18   A choice between a triumphant return to high finance and love in a cottage.

1745—2006(Hide quotations)


 P11. love in disguise: a dish consisting of calf's heart (occasionally sheep's heart) boiled, stuffed with forcemeat, and then baked.

[1705   J. S. City & Country Recreation x. 58   Love in Disguise, and how esteemed, and the Danger there is in it more than when it appears in its naked Form.]
1877   E. S. Dallas Kettner's Bk. of Table 282   Love in disguise is a calf's heart stuffed, then surrounded with forcemeat, next rolled in vermicelli, lastly deposited in a baking dish..and sent to the oven.
1937   Times 5 June 16/5   ‘Love in Disguise’ concealed within it a stuffed sheep's heart—an eighteenth-century culinary jest.
1958   W. Bickel tr. R. Hering Dict. Classical & Mod. Cookery 451   Love in disguise, calf's heart, soaked in water, larded, boiled until tender, dried, coated with veal forcemeat, rolled in crushed raw noodles, roasted in butter in oven and basted frequently.
1995   N.Y. Times (Nexis) 23 July vii. 14   British cuisine has always sounded entertaining. But, like love-in-disguise (which turns out to be baked, stuffed calf heart), what winds up on the plate can be harder to swallow.

1877—1995(Hide quotations)

 P12. the love that dare not speak its name and variants.

 a. Chiefly euphemistic. Homosexuality.In later use also occasionally applied to sexual preferences or practices having a status likened to that of homosexuality in the late 19th cent., as in being legally prohibited or socially unacceptable.

1894   A. Douglas Two Loves in Chameleon Dec. 28   I am the love that dare not speak its name.
1895   O. Wilde in Oscar Wilde: Three Times Tried (1912) ii. xiii. 271   The ‘Love that dare not speak its name’ in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan... It is in this century..so much misunderstood that it may be described as the ‘Love that dare not speak its name’.
1895   M. Beerbohm Let. 3 May in Lett. to R. Turner (1964) 102   [Oscar's] speech about the Love that dares not tell his name was simply wonderful, and carried the whole court right away, quite a tremendous burst of applause.
1950   N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 29 Jan. 6/1   Gide's second proposition, that civilization benefits by toleration of ‘the love that dares not speak its name.’
1976   Evening Capital (Annapolis, Maryland) 28 Oct.   Their ‘loves’..were of the offbeat persuasion—you know, ‘the love that dare not speak its name’.
2001   Village Voice (N.Y.) (Nexis) 5 June 41   We know too little about plural marriage to say that it inevitably results in pain... What gives Utah the right to repress this love that dare not speak its name?
2002   H. M. Benshoff in M. Jancovich Horror ii. vii. 99   The ‘love that dare not speak its name’ remains a shadowy Other which conversely works to bolster the equally constructed idea of a normative heterosexuality.

1894—2002(Hide quotations)


 b. In extended use (frequently humorous): any (trivial) enthusiasm or predilection regarded as embarrassing, shameful, or inappropriate.

1977   Times 27 May 2/8   Government ministers were privately ‘terribly fond of the arts’. Could that..be the sort of love that dare not speak its name?
1989   Independent (Nexis) 13 Dec. (Sport section) 28   In an age of hooliganism..football enthusiasm became the love that dare not speak its name.
1994   Chicago Sun-Times (Nexis) 25 Sept. (Late Sports Final ed.) (Show section) 13   It's the love that dares not speak its name. No sane rocker would admit to loving the Carpenters.
2004   A. King London Jrnl. i. i. 11   ‘Slumming’, whereby a culturally respectable reader takes pleasure in mass-market reading, was in the nineteenth-century a love that dare not speak its name.

1977—2004(Hide quotations)



A selection of some of the more significant compounds is given here.
 C1. General attributive.

  love-adept   n. (adept n.)

1820   P. B. Shelley Prometheus Unbound i. i. 56   Dreaming like a love-adept.
1918   D. H. Lawrence New Poems 53   The delicate love-adept Can warm her hands and invite her soul.
1969   L. P. Hartley (title)    The love-adept: a variation on a theme.

1820—1969(Hide quotations)


  love adventure   n.

1612   T. Shelton tr. M. de Cervantes Don-Quixote: Pt. 1 iv. xxiv. 581   In Loue adventures [Sp. en los casos de amor] no one is accomplished with more facilitie, then that which is fauoured by the womans desire.
1653   T. Urquhart tr. F. Rabelais 1st Bk. Wks. liv. 238   Here enter not, fond makers of demurres In love-adventures.
1710   Ld. Shaftesbury Soliloquy 114   In relation to common Amours and Love-Adventures.
1772   in G. Keate Poet. Wks. (1781) 172   These Indentures Now settle,—sign,—and seal all Love Adventures.
1821   C. Lamb in London Mag. Jan. 5/2   It is better that I should have pined away..than that so passionate a love-adventure should be lost.
1900   W. C. Russell (title)    Rose Island. The strange story of a love adventure at sea.
1965   C. N. Eze (title)    Little John in the love adventure.

1612—1965(Hide quotations)


  love allegory   n.

1897   Amer. Jrnl. Philol. 18 471   The Temple of Glass..follows the rules of the fashionable Love-Allegory.
1933   R. Tuve Seasons & Months iv. 189   All this is to be found in the love-allegory of the Golden Targe.
2003   Mod. Lang. Rev. 98 p. xxxv   Vogt..credits him [sc. Gottfried von Strassburg] with the creation of the secular love allegory.

1897—2003(Hide quotations)


  love ballad   n.

1565   T. Cooper Thesaurus at Amor   Componere amores..To make loue balades.
a1654   A. Ross Πανσεβεια (1655) viii. 238   The Canticles was not Scripture, but a Love Ballade between Solomon and one of his Concubines.
a1668   W. Davenant Distresses ii. i in Wks. (1673) iii. 42/1   He makes My love Ballads. The merry Madrigal For Maids, and the Vicious Virgin, were both his.
1876   Musical Times Aug. 565/1   Such a poem as will puzzle the warblers of ‘love ballads’ to unravel.
2000   Stud. Eng. Lit. 1500–1900 40 521   The rhythm is singsong, in the familiar pattern of love ballads.

1565—2000(Hide quotations)


  love-bed   n.

a1616   W. Shakespeare Richard III (1623) iii. vii. 72   He is not lulling on a lewd Loue-Bed [1597 day bed].
1642   S. Rutherford Peaceable Plea To Rdr. sig. a2   O that Christ would enlarge his Love bed.
a1788   W. J. Mickle Siege of Marseilles in Poems & Trag. (1794) iv. iii. 308   Leave th' Adulterer in triumphant riot In your love bed, drunk with Erminia's charm's.
1874   A. C. Swinburne Bothwell i. i. 41   I had rather the close moon and stars anight Lit me to love-bed.
1934   D. Thomas 18 Poems 19   Invisible, your clocking tides Break on the lovebeds of the weeds.
a1963   S. Plath Crossing Water (1971) 33   Musky as a lovebed the morning after.

a1616—a1963(Hide quotations)


  love bond   n.

a1350   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 51 (MED)   Suete Iesu..hou swete bueþ þi loue-bonde.
c1400   Bk. to Mother (Bodl.) 50   Tak to þe þe swete childe and swetliche swaþ hit in his gradil wiþ swete loue bondes.
1595   W. Lisle tr. S. G. de Senlis in tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Babilon 23   The knot and loue-bond of nations [Fr. l'vnion et amitié des peuples], is so loosened and broke, that scarce is there founde any remedie for it.
a1869   R. Leighton Reuben (1875) ii. ii. 69   I'll break this love-bond slowly, so that he May never know the breaking.
1951   L. MacNeice tr. J. W. von Goethe Faust ii. v. 295   Rapture which yearns ever, Love-bond which burns ever.
2000   Jrnl. Econ. Lit. 38 477/2   Discusses how human economics grows out of natural increase; the love bond and the meaning of zero.

a1350—2000(Hide quotations)


  love chant   n.

1798   S. T. Coleridge Nightingale in W. Wordsworth & S. T. Coleridge Lyrical Ballads 66   He were fearful, that an April night Would be too short for him to utter forth His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul Of all its music!
1884   Galveston (Texas) Daily News 24 Nov. 2/2   The young girl..sang..a seemingly plaintive love chant.
2001   Dayton (Ohio) Daily News (Nexis) 22 Sept. (Entertainm. section) c3   A series of mock meditations, yogic exercises and..tantric love chants.

1798—2001(Hide quotations)


  love charm   n.

a1627   T. Middleton Witch (1950) i. ii. 24   Thou com'st for a loue-charme now?
1708   P. Bayly Misc. Reflections I. 59   He sent to Market for a kind of Fish which they judg'd to be a sovereign Love-charm.
1821   W. Scott Kenilworth II. v. 133   They are spoken in a mad tale of fairies, love-charms, and I wot not what besides.
1948   B. G. M. Sundkler Bantu Prophets S. Afr. vi. 222   Various Native ‘Chemist’ shops sell..love-charms.
1994   Malahat Rev. Spring 110   Lucille made love charms from their petals to put in bath water.

a1627—1994(Hide quotations)


  love dance   n.

c1450  (c1380)    G. Chaucer House of Fame (Fairf. 16) (1878) l. 1235   Ther saugh I fames olde and yonge Pipers of alle Duche tonge To lerne loue Daunces sprynges Reus and these straunge thynges.
1712   J. White Restoration All Things 58   How doth this still..confirm that Account before given of a Love Design or project, a mask of Love, a Love Dance?
1911   J. A. Thomson Biol. Seasons ii. 233   The long larval period of two or three years in the water, and the short aerial love-dance lasting for an evening or two.
2001   Australian 1 May (Brisbane ed.) 3/2   Her exotic Indian love dance was described as ‘undancerly’ and unco-ordinated.

c1450—2001(Hide quotations)


love desire   n. Obsolete

1629   J. Ford Lovers Melancholy iv. 67   The Incense of my loue-desires, are flam'd Vpon an Altar of more constant proofe.
1657   J. Harington Hist. Polindor & Flostella (ed. 3) 182   More then King my self I prize In this new-rays'd Love-desire.
1691   E. Taylor J. Behmen's Theosophick Philos. 359   Nature's Property should..become not a dark raging poisonful Hunger, but a Love desire.

1629—1691(Hide quotations)


  love discourse   n.

1591   J. Harington in tr. L. Ariosto Orlando Furioso xxvii. 223 (note)    It alludes to a like thing, written by Plutarch in his loue discourses.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) ii. iv. 125   I know you ioy not in a Loue-discourse .  View more context for this quotation
1687   R. L'Estrange tr. A. de Castillo Solórzano in Spanish Decameron viii. 462   He entred into some Love Discourses with her.
1787   J. Cobb Eng. Readings 23   A confab between Romeo and Juliet—a bit of love discourse, eh?
a1864   J. Clare Cottage Tales (1993) 125   The maids resumed their love discourse anew.
1990   South Atlantic Rev. 55 99   In the Petrarchan love discourse molding the European poetic imagination of the Renaissance.

1591—1990(Hide quotations)


  love ditty   n.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Astrophel & Stella (1591) 35   In hir necke you did loue ditties peepe.
1694   N. H. Ladies Dict. at Singing   A Fidler..gained a fortune..by procuring and humming over some Love ditties.
a1711   T. Ken Christophil in Wks. (1721) I. 476   I..Who for Two thousand Years, or rather more, Have sung the like Love-ditties o're and o're.
1798   W. Jackson Four Ages xxv. 358   That peculiarly fine melody appropriated to the hundredth psalm, was sung to a popular love-ditty.
1808   W. Scott Marmion i. vii. 29   And frame love ditties passing rare.
1890   E. S. Hartland Sci. Fairy Tales (1891) i. 7   The women at their wheels; and while they spin they sing love ditties.
2005   TNT Mag. 7 Mar. 66/1   But the tunes are mere grains of sand, while the lyrics are abysmal, winsome little love ditties.

a1586—2005(Hide quotations)


  love dream   n.  [quot. c1390   probably shows a different compound with dream n.1]

[c1390   Swete Ihesu Now (Vernon) l. 20 in C. Horstmann Yorkshire Writers (1896) II. 10   Þou make in me þi loue-dreem [v.r. luf-drem].]
1602   T. Dekker Blurt Master-Constable 24   Dreame of her, loue-dreames are nere too deepe.
1794   T. Holcroft Adventures Hugh Trevor I. xvi. 218   Olivia in danger: love dreams: fanatic horrors.
1866   R. D. Blackmore Cradock Nowell (1881) xii. 48   A maiden with the love dream nestling beneath the bridal faldetta.
1932   N. Coward Younger Generation in B. Day N. Coward: Compl. Lyrics (1998) 153/3   Though the world is well lost for love dreams There's wisdom above dreams To compensate mothers and wives.
2005   P. Clifford Deciphering Eros 307   Truly figured in the West's finest love dream is the narcissistic heaven dreamed of by the eternal children the lovers have succeeded in remaining.

1602—2005(Hide quotations)


  love duel   n.

1856   Putnam's Monthly Mag. May 557   What is an opera without a love duel between the tenor and the baritone?
1932   R. Campbell Taurine Provence ii. 44   The great ‘Lou Pouvenco’..bore a small fortune between his horns, until he was killed in a love-duel by a younger rival.
2001   G. Adelman Retelling Dostoyevsky iii. 123   He evokes in his love duel..Ivan's relationship with Katerina.

1856—2001(Hide quotations)


  love duet   n.

1863   Cornhill Mag. Sept. 305   A similar defect..strikes me in the love-duet which succeeds.
1975   Times 12 Feb. 23/6   The dance of Discord and War..has to be reconciled by the love duet.

1863—1975(Hide quotations)


  love elegy   n.

1616   B. Holyday tr. Persius Satyres sig. B6   Weak Love-elegies, such as Rome's nobles speak [L. non siqua elegidia crudidictarunt proceres?].
1684   N. Lee Constantine Great sig. A4v (advt.)    Virgil's Eclogues, Ovid's Love-Elegies, Odes of Horace, and other Authors.
1753   T. Francklin Transl. 11 (note)    Hammond, author of Love elegies.
1783   H. Blair Lect. Rhetoric I. iv. 69   Sonnets, Pastorals, and Love Elegies.
1853   F. E. A. Gasc Materials for French Prose Composition 73   I have some love elegies which..I mean to give to the public.
2003   R. K. Gibson in tr. Ovid Ars Amatoria 378   Domina, the standard term for mistress in love-elegy.

1616—2003(Hide quotations)


  love eye   n.

c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy (2002) f. 49v   Lokyng on lenght with a loue ee.
1696   J. Lead Fountain of Gardens sig. *F2   The beauteous Love-Eye burning in the Heart; From whence Loves Centres endless multlply.
1775   R. B. Sheridan Rivals iv. iv. 84   Her love-eye was fix'd on me—t'other—her eye of duty, was finely obliqued.
1956   ‘B. Holiday’ & W. Dufty Lady sings Blues xx. 182   I thought this had to be part of a build-up and the love eyes had to come later.

c1540—1956(Hide quotations)


  love-fit   n.

1582   R. Stanyhurst tr. Virgil First Foure Bookes Æneis iv. 78   Or fro this hoat looue fits I shal bee shortlye retrayted [L. vel eo me solvat amantem].
1679   J. Goodman Penitent Pardoned (1713) ii. i. 150   Taken with an agony of mind, or a kind of love-fit.
1713   C. Johnson Successful Pyrate (ed. 2) ii. i. 27   I'll..In this Lethargick Love-Fit steal his Crown.
1859   ‘H. Lee’ Against Wind & Tide (1860) vii. 226   He had discovered one or two mature Phyllises..upon whom he retaliated the luckless experience he had gained in his first love-fit.
1906   Man 6 28   When the love-fit was on between individual males and females.

1582—1906(Hide quotations)


  love-flight   n.

a1626   J. Davies Wks. (1869) I. 470 (title)    Love-flight.
1936   Brit. Birds 29 307   The love-flights of many species depend on a subtle change in the character of the wing-beat, most marked perhaps in the waders.

a1626—1936(Hide quotations)


  love-gift   n.

1590   T. Lodge Rosalynde: Euphues Golden Legacie sig. Nv   In elder time..the Shepheards Loue-gifts were apples and chestnuts.
1645   S. Rutherford Tryal & Triumph of Faith xxv. 312   Christ is Gods highest love-gift.
1717   E. Biddle Augustus in Poem on Birth of Young Prince i. 24   His liberal Love-Gifts would undo an Empire.
1876   R. Browning Cenciaja 279   The simpleton must ostentatiously Display a ring, the Cardinal's love-gift.
1987   J. Saltman Mod. Canad. Children's Bks. 41   A love-gift from the girl's grandmother—seeds to be planted and to bloom as flowers in the new land.

1590—1987(Hide quotations)


  love-glance   n.

1652   E. Benlowes Theophila x. iii. 179   No Grandee Patron court I, nor entice Love-glances from enchanting Eyes.
1820   J. Keats Lamia i, in Lamia & Other Poems 9   The love-glances of unlovely eyes.
1952   R. Campbell tr. Poems of Baudelaire 146   The love-glance of a courtesan.

1652—1952(Hide quotations)


  love intrigue   n.

1667   G. Digby Elvira iv. 50   O the unlucky Star That leads a Lady, engaged in love intrigues To take a new Attendant!
1726   W. Law Absolute Unlawfulness Stage-Entertainment (ed. 2) 11   It consists of Love-Intrigues, blasphemous Passions, prophane Discourses, [etc.].
1798   W. Render tr. A. von Kotzebue Count Benyowsky iii. 110   Treason! Ships! Love intrigues! Flight! Conspiracy!
1893   H. B. Clarke Spanish Lit. 163   The plot invariably centres round the love intrigue of persons in the middle or upper classes of life.
2002   19th-cent. Lit. 57 196   Valerius immediately befriends Sextus, and as a consequence becomes involved in a love intrigue.

1667—2002(Hide quotations)


love-laughing   n. Obsolete

c1400  (?c1390)    Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 1777   With luf-laȝyng a lyt.

c1400—c1400(Hide quotations)


  love-look   n.

1637   S. Rutherford Let. 10 June (1848) clxxv. 328   Any little communion with him [sc. Christ], one of his love-looks, should be my begun heaven.
1680   E. Settle Life & Death Major Clancie vi. 113   They interchange glances of Love-looks, while the Marchant is preparing for his intended visit.
1757   in Amer. Mag. (1758) 86/1   Soft blushes in her cheeks arise And love looks languid in her eyes.
1904   Windsor Mag. June 305/2   Do you think I don't know a love-look when I see it?
1943   M. Lavin Tales from Bective Bridge 36   It was love-talk and love-looks that held down this man.

1637—1943(Hide quotations)


  love-lore   n.

1754   H. Walpole Lett. (1846) III. 64   That living academy of love-lore, my Lady Vane.
1846   R. W. Emerson Jrnl. in Jrnls. & Misc. Notebks. (1971) 442   Tremulous with love-lore.
1962   Times 7 June 16/3   William Gerhardi speaks of ‘love-lore’.

1754—1962(Hide quotations)


  love lyric   n.

1809   (title)    Royal love lyrics, from royal love letters, with notes and illustrations.
1856   National Rev. 3 372   The love-lyric..is probably the most intense expression of primitive passion.
1974   P. Dickinson Poison Oracle ii. 44   You get a basic story, but inside it you get dramatic sections and love lyrics.

1809—1974(Hide quotations)


  love-madness   n.

1823   Medico-chirurg. Rev., & Jrnl. Med. Sci. 3 722   Marriage has been proposed for love-madness.
1884   Harper's Mag. Dec. 134/1   Love-madness is nothing new.
1939   tr. E. N. Marais My Friends the Baboons ix. 110   Young baboons during their period of love-madness lost all their usual fear of man.

1823—1939(Hide quotations)


  love magic   n.

1826   T. Roscoe German Novelists IV. 7   Love-magic; some centuries ago.
1949   M. Mead Male & Female iii. 56   How the..human sacrifice or love-magic fitted into the whole.
2002   W. H. Goodenough Under Heaven's Brow xvii. 253   Young people frequently resorted to love magic.

1826—2002(Hide quotations)


  love marriage   n.

1781   London Mag. Mar. 110/2   Where there is a lasting love Marriage, it would be exceedingly distressing to both of the parties to be convinced that where death does them part, their union is dissolved for ever.
1850   W. M. Thackeray Pendennis II. xxi. 209   Look at your love-marriages... The love-match people are the most notorious of all for quarrelling afterwards.
1990   V. S. Naipaul India: Million Mutinies i. 67   He had a sister who had made a love marriage a year or so before.

1781—1990(Hide quotations)


  love meeting   n.

?1589   T. Nashe Almond for Parrat sig. B   Profound Cliffe..broke vp his brotherly loue-meeting abruptly, when the spirite had but newly moued him.
1656   Duchess of Newcastle Natures Pictures x. 346   A procuring Bawd is to make Love-matches, and contrive Love-meetings.
1760   C. Johnstone Chrysal II. xi. 229   I told you that the attempt had been made upon the king, as he was returning from a love-meeting.
1864   A. Daly & F. Wood Taming Butterfly i. 19   A meeting—a love meeting with a woman of fashion! Happy Beaujolais!
1928   D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover xiii. 234   It was not the right sort of heart to take to a love-meeting.

?1589—1928(Hide quotations)


  love-melancholy   n.

1621   R. Burton Anat. Melancholy iii. i. i. i. 495   Some or other..will much discommend some part of this Treatise of Loue Melancholy.
1694   N. H. Ladies Dict. at Occations of falling in Love   Occasion, as we have said, is very much contributing to Love-Melancholy.
1798   C. Lucas Castle of St. Donats xv. 186   They also explained to him..the young Captain's love melancholy.
1832   J. P. Kennedy Swallow Barn I. xxvi. 276   Melancholy,—that is, your love-melancholy,—wears divers antics.
a1963   L. MacNeice Astrol. (1964) v. 162   The astrological causes of love-melancholy.

1621—a1963(Hide quotations)


  love-mongering   n.

1882   Spectator 9 Dec. 1579   His [sc. Sterne's] lovemongering was altogether contemptible.

1882—1882(Hide quotations)


love-mourning   n. Obsolete

?a1300   St. Eustace (Digby) l. 111 in C. Horstmann Altengl. Legenden (1881) 2nd Ser. 213   Toward Egipte hy gunnen fare, ffore I-bounden al wiþ kare, And wiþ loue mourninge Of Crist þat alle þinge shop.
1845   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. May 639/2   He withdraws himself from all feasts, societies, and throngs of men, to dedicate himself to love-mourning.

?a1300—1845(Hide quotations)


  love-ode   n.

1650   A. Cowley Guardian i. iii. sig. A4v   I have two or three Love-odes ready made.
1689   M. Prior Epist. to F. Shephard 50   Pigs might squeak love-odes, dogs bark satire.
a1745   T. Warton Poems on Several Occasions (1748) 139 (title of poem)    An American Love-Ode.
1792   S. T. Coleridge Let. 13 Feb. (1956) I. 28   My tiny love ode possesses no other property in the world.
1859   C. M. Bain Poems 142 (title)    Rural love ode.

1650—1859(Hide quotations)


  love-passion   n.

1582   T. Watson Ἑκατομπαθία: Passionate Cent. Loue To Rdr. sig. A4   In respect of my trauaile in penning these louepassions.
1649   R. Baron Apol. for Paris 47   Palme trees are of both sexes, and expresse not a sympathy, but a Love passion.
1753   Dict. Love at Hope   It is the hope of that [sc. enjoyment], which is the true basis of the love-passion.
1858   C. Lamb in Harper's Mag. Dec. 79/1   This drowsy Deity, who certainly was first invented in drink, as sloth and luxury are commonly the first movers in these idle love-passions.

1582—1858(Hide quotations)


  love-plot   n.

1640   J. Gough Strange Discov. iv. ii. sig. H4v   O I feare This kindnesse is some love plot on my deare.
1672   J. Dryden Conquest Granada ii. i. ii. 83   But your Love-plot I'le quickly countermine.
1795   tr. Flareau Ocean Spectre iii. ii. 37   Over turn their deep laid love plots by a speedy murther.
1871   D. H. Strother Virginia Illustr. xvi. 298   A story without a love-plot is like a bush without a rose.
1995   Mirror (Nexis) 1 July 8   She will be cheating on her husband Frank all over again in the latest love plot aimed at boosting the show's ratings.

1640—1995(Hide quotations)


  love poem   n.

1616   G. Chapman in tr. G. Musaeus Divine Poem To Rdr. sig. A8v   It being by all the most Learned, the incomparable Loue-Poem of the world.
1750   Wks. Celebrated Authors 176   I shall not so much as mention his Canticles, which Grotius, as well as I, affirms to be a Love-Poem.
1847   Ld. Tennyson Princess iv. 71   And this A mere love-poem.
1937   D. Thomas Let. 6 Aug. (1987) 255   I'm a long way from everywhere, in a high huge haystack of a studio over the harbour,..writing an occasional bad love poem.
2002   Blush! Nov. 79/2   To get my own back, I sent a love poem to our history teacher and signed it from him.

1616—2002(Hide quotations)


  love-poet   n.

1759   Monthly Rev. 20 179   The Doctor's having entertained himself with translating the whole when he were still younger..were no improper circumstances for the transfusion of a gallant and soft love-poet.
1888   M. Arnold Ess. Crit. 2nd Ser. 43   Nor is Clarinda's love-poet, Sylvander, the real Burns either.
1923   J. M. Murry Pencillings 224   Love poets are seldom the singers of happiness in love.
1995   V. Chandra Red Earth & Pouring Rain (1996) 142   Here we are, you and I, love-poets of the first order, reduced to writing about a homicidal madman.

1759—1995(Hide quotations)


  love poetry   n.

1787   in E. Spenser Poet. Wks. I. p. lxxxix   The uncommon ardour of his passion, as well as the fineness of his wit and language, established him the master of love-poetry among the Moderns.
1861   J. Brown Horæ Subsecivæ 2nd Ser. II. 466   This perfervor of our Scottish love poetry.
1991   F. Kanga Heaven on Wheels (1992) vi. 79   And someone gave me a book of Elizabethan love poetry, but you can't read too much of that. Just an occasional dip.

1787—1991(Hide quotations)


  love-prank   n.

1633   W. Prynne Histrio-mastix 88   The Scriptures doe expressly prohibit the personating of any sinne; much more then, the Acting of Adulteries, Incests, Rapes, Murders, Thefts, Lovepranks.
1746   A. Arbuthnot Life Simon, Lord Lovat 204   His Love-pranks began to be the Subject of public-Talk.
1857   G. H. Boker Plays & Poems II. 415   And curl in scorn when other maidens play Their love-pranks round me.
2001   India Today (Nexis) 12 Mar. 73   Many of the traditional Horis retell the love pranks of Krish-na-Radha.

1633—2001(Hide quotations)


love-prate   n. Obsolete rare

a1616   W. Shakespeare As you like It (1623) iv. i. 191   You haue simply misus'd our sexe in your loue-prate .  View more context for this quotation
1769   E. Griffith School for Rakes ii. 20   Here comes my brother—have done with your love-prate.

a1616—1769(Hide quotations)


  love-quarrel   n.

1671   J. Milton Samson Agonistes 1008   Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end.  View more context for this quotation
1694   L. Echard tr. Plautus Amphitryon iii. ii, in tr. Plautus Comedies 43   Whenever these little Love Quarrels happen, and those made up, the pleasing Passion's doubled.
1715   A. Pope in tr. Homer Iliad I. iii. Observ. 253   There is in one Place a Lover to be protected, in another a Love-Quarrel to be made up.
1798   J. Baillie Introd. Disc. in Series of Plays 56   The clearing up of some mistake or love-quarrel.
1857   C. Dickens Little Dorrit xiii. 111   ‘One remark,’ said Flora, giving their conversation..the tone of a love quarrel.
1993   Callaloo 16 342   How a woman may read her man out, in a love quarrel.

1671—1993(Hide quotations)


  love-rhyme   n.

1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost iii. i. 176   Dan Cupid, Regent of Loue-rimes.
1601   A. Munday & H. Chettle Death Earle of Huntington sig. E2   These loue-rimes are the tokens of small good.
[1737   J. Miller Coffee-house ii. 4   Have a Respect unto the approaching Nuptials of my Friend Sir John Love-rhyme, and the virtuous Lady Toothless.]
1822   S. T. Coleridge Coll. Lett. (1971) V. 218   We used to carry..the pillage of the Flower Gardens..with Sonnet or Love-rhyme wrapped round the Nose-gay.
1905   Mod. Lang. Notes 20 176/1   In this Tuscan folk-poetry Mr. Hewlett finds an artistry which clearly differentiates its from the common love-rhyme of all nations.

1598—1905(Hide quotations)


  love-secret   n.

1603   P. Holland tr. Plutarch Morals 350   The love-secrets [Fr. le secret des amours] and merrie conceits passing from an husband being absent in another countrey, and writing to his wife.
1676   J. Dryden Aureng-Zebe ii. 18   What danger, Arimant, is this you fear? Or what Love-secret which I must not hear?
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison I. xxxvii. 265   And has he, can he have, so many Love-secrets, and yet..not let them transpire to such a sister?
1923   R. Graves Feather Bed 25   This meek ex-novice rifled Of her love-secrets?

1603—1923(Hide quotations)


  love-service   n.

1561   T. Hoby tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer iii. sig. Bb.ii   With what sober mode they shewe fauor to who so is in their loue seruice [It. che gli serue per amore].
1695   J. Lead Laws of Paradise i. 33   When he saw thee wounded..his Eye pitied, and officiated in this Love Service, as one that had a fellow-feeling of thy Calamity.
1863   H. R. Geldart First Steps in Life 238   Such a charming picture she gave of the pleasure and comfort of love service.

1561—1863(Hide quotations)


  love-shaft   n.

1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream ii. i. 159   Cupid..loos'd his loue-shaft smartly, from his bowe.  View more context for this quotation
1656   J. Collop Poesis Rediviva 76   Cupid of thy shoulders makes a bow, From whence fly love shafts wounding.
1692   H. Purcell Fairy-queen ii. 12   Cupid..Let flye his Love-Shaft smartly from his Bow.
1838   Bentley's Misc. 3 544   I have generally observed that a love-shaft pierces through nine hundred and ninety-nine hearts at once.
1993   D. S. Olson Confessions Aubrey Beardsley (1994) x. 199   Andreé..watches from the shade of a garden pavilion, perhaps wishing that the arrows were love-shafts intended for him.

1600—1993(Hide quotations)


  love sonnet   n.

1621   R. Burton Anat. Melancholy III. iii. ii. iii. i. 619   Loue will make them Musitians, and to make Ditties, Madrigalls, Elegies, & loue Sonnets.
1796   J. Thelwall Appeal against Kidnapping & Murder 49   Have not our houses been previously plundered by his Majesty's messengers of..manuscripts of all descriptions from the novel and love sonnet to the physiological dissertation?
1870   D. G. Rossetti Let. 26 Feb. (1965) II. 804   The love-sonnets are the preponderant portion.
1958   E. Blunden War Poets 1914–18 ii. 15   In the pre-war poems of Brooke something like a premonition can be seen recurring. A love-sonnet dated 1909 powerfully includes it.
2003   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 10 Apr. 36/2   The popular singer Serafino Aquiliano, a lutenist whose outrageous sendups of Petrarchan love sonnets swept Italy in the 1490s to become the latest fashion in music.

1621—2003(Hide quotations)


  love speech   n.

?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 153   Wið tollinde word oðer wið luue speche.
1588   A. Munday tr. Palmerin D'Oliua i. vi. f. 14   Among a number of soft and sweete loue speeches, he discoursed to her his talke with the Emperour.
1694   N. H. Ladies Dict. at Form of Courtship   There are very few even of our Dramatique Writers; whose Love-speeches read well, or appear free or natural.
1796   M. G. Lewis Village Virtues ii. 32   His love-speeches must be extremely moving!
1829   W. M. Thackeray Let. ?25 Feb. (1945) I. 146   A gentleman..arrived [who]..makes love speeches to admiration.
1917   W. B. Yeats Wild Swans at Coole 47   Receive the love-speeches of Juliet with an ironical chirping.
2006   Scotsman 14 Oct. 22   Why else would the producers prompt [him] to give wife Vicky the longest, most inarticulate love speech in TV history?

?c1225—2006(Hide quotations)


love-spring   n. Obsolete

a1350   in K. Böddeker Altengl. Dichtungen (1878) 201   Þy loue sprenges tacheþ me.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Comedy of Errors (1623) iii. ii. 3   Shall Antipholus Euen in the spring of Loue, thy Loue-springs rot?  View more context for this quotation
a1672   P. Sterry Disc. Freedom of Will (1675) iii. 205   In these Angelical Loves, the Seraphims are all forms of things, as in their first, their sweetest created Love-Springs, and Love-Unions.

a1350—a1672(Hide quotations)


  love-suit   n.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. ii. f. 102v   His loue-suits made to Mopsa, meant to Pamela.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Henry V (1623) v. ii. 101   Tearmes, Such as will..pleade his Loue-suit to her gentle heart.  View more context for this quotation
1698   R. Gould Satyr against Wooing 6   Some Brawny Groom..Cries Ough, and Mounts, and the Love-suit is done.
1775   R. Cumberland Choleric Man v. iii. 87   I fell into a kind of a love-suit here, with the young lady of this house.
1822   S. T. Coleridge Shorter Wks. & Fragm. (1995) II. 959   His murmur sounded..like the Prologue to a Love-suit.
1943   Mod. Lang. Notes 58 426   One of the most unintelligible lines in Shakespeare occurs in the short speech..in which Diana pretends to accede to Bertram's love-suit.
2001   Signs 27 34   Ladies who refuse the love suit will be held accountable for the lover's inevitable demise.

a1586—2001(Hide quotations)


  love-talk   n.

1728   Congress of Bees 27   I had the Pleasure to hear most dismal love Talk than ever was told in any of our modern Romances.
1862   G. Meredith Mod. Love xxxiii. 65   My wife, read this! Strange love talk, is it not?
1994   R. Hellenga Sixteen Pleasures xiii. 208   Tete-a-tete they talk the love talk they love to talk.

1728—1994(Hide quotations)


love-talking   n. Obsolete

c1400  (?c1390)    Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 927   I hope þat may hym here Schal lerne of luf-talkyng.
a1475   in J. O. Halliwell Early Eng. Misc. (1855) 2   A blestfulle songe that byrd gone synge, And I abode for love talkynge.

c1400—a1475(Hide quotations)


  love-tear   n.

a1350   in K. Böddeker Altengl. Dichtungen (1878) 201   Of loue teres he weop a flod.
1857   Putnam's Monthly Mag. Jan. 10   Eye of night, with love-tears swimming.

a1350—1857(Hide quotations)


  love theme   n.

1829   Friendship's Offering 245   Her cheek was pale, save when a blush (Raised by the youth's love-theme) cast a flush For a moment o'er it.
1938   R. Graves Coll. Poems p. xxi   With the love-theme went the old fear-theme, sharpened rather than blunted by the experiences of peace.
1957   A. R. Manvell & J. Huntley Technique Film Music i. 21   Examples of original music by Griffith and Briel included a prominent love-theme (for the Little Colonel and Elsie Stoneman).
2002   Electronic Gaming Monthly Feb. 148/2   The only reason I felt compelled to go back and play was to hear the cool love theme (and subsequent power ballad) one more time.

1829—2002(Hide quotations)


  love thought   n.

a1450   in R. H. Bowers Three Middle Eng. Relig. Poems (1963) 33   A swete lofe thowt is praised of me.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Astrophel & Stella (1591) 49   Twinckling starres loue thoughts prouoke.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) i. i. 40   Loue-thoughts lye rich, when canopy'd with bowres.  View more context for this quotation
1688   D. Leeds Temple of Wisdom App. 81   The Spirit of the Life..is as it were more than half mad with Love-thoughts.
1781   H. Downman Poems to Thespia sig. A2   No antique Bards for love-thoughts I explore.
1885   Cent. Mag. July 417/1   He sings the youthful loves of a lass of La Crau,..that touching poem built of love-thoughts and impressions of nature.
1984   ELH 51 711   We have heard Jane fantasize about this kind of allegorical pilgrimage before, though it was significantly after these hitherto undocumented love thoughts.

a1450—1984(Hide quotations)


  love-toy   n.

1566   ‘W. P.’ tr. C. S. Curio Pasquine in Traunce f. 96   Discourses and loue toyes [It. gli amori] are woes, playes and pastimes are woes.
1647   J. Trapp Comm. Epist. & Rev. (Coloss. iv. 16)   Other good books must be read..yet not idle pamphlets, and love-toies.
1706   E. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II. ii. 8   Kisses, Love-Toys, and am'rous Prattle.
1773   R. Graves Spiritual Quixote III. ix. xi. 39   One would think it was a love-toy; and that it was given you by your sweet-heart.
2001   FHM Feb. 77/3   The aim is to be your mistress' love-toy and she should employ all means necessary to cajole or punish you into submission.

1566—2001(Hide quotations)


  love-trick   n.

1567   W. Painter Palace of Pleasure II. f. 199   Well it might haue bene said, of loue trickes that she was the only dame and mistresse.
1590   T. Watson Eglogue vpon Death Walsingham 266   Let them suppose sweete Musicke out of vse, and wanton louetricks to be foolish toies.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Amourettes, loue-trickes.
1729   C. Johnson Village Opera iii. ii. 66   A Love-trick, which is, must, and will always be pardonable.
1826   S. Smith Wks. (1859) II. 90/2   All the various love-tricks of attempting to appear indifferent.
1960   T. Hughes Lupercal 74   Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks.

1567—1960(Hide quotations)


  love verse   n.

1598   F. Meres tr. Luis de Granada Sinners Guyde i. xix. 202   Hee hath..imployed all the strength and sinnowes of his reason and vnderstanding..in compozing Poems, in making loue Verses [Sp. en componer sonetos llenos de agudeza y sentencias].
1647   A. Cowley (title)    The mistresse, or severall copies of love-verses.
a1708   Walsh in J. Dryden Misc. (1727) IV. 335   Petrarch..being by much the most famous of all the Moderns who have written Love-Verses.
1799   F. Reynolds Laugh when you Can i. 4   While I'm copying out pleadings in one room, you're writing love verses in another.
1841   T. D. Lauder Legendary Tales Highlands I. 100   Here is one..which would seem to have a curious posey in it; some ready-made love verse, I suppose.
1927   E. V. Gordon Introd. Old Norse p. xliv   Some love-verses of his were there inserted in the poem.
2003   Mod. Lang. Rev. 98 504   Matthew Bell demonstrates from examples of love verse over Goethe's entire career how love is always grounded in nature.

1598—2003(Hide quotations)


  love visit   n.

1637   S. Rutherford Lett. (1848) cxxiii. 234   Our Lord maketh delicates and dainties of his sweet presence and love-visits to his own.
1735   J. Miller Man of Taste i. i. 7   Besides, Sir, their very Dress and Deportment were shocking. To make a Love-Visit with a plain Leg..and a Coat without Lace.
1898   R. G. Moulton Anc. Classical Drama (ed. 2) viii. 278   If the gods resist,..blockade them when they wish to make their love visits to earth.
1995   J. Jochens Women in Old Norse Society (1998) ii. 34   In recounting the illicit love visits of their pagan ancestors, they recognized the deep historical roots of extramarital sexual relations.

1637—1995(Hide quotations)


  love word   n.

a1250   Ureisun ure Louerde (Nero) in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 201   Hwi ne con ich wowen þe wið swete luue wordes.
a1651   D. Calderwood Hist. Kirk Scotl. (1843) II. 352   Manie love words she useth to Bothwell in this letter.
1883   Longman's Mag. Aug. 368   Why did her love-words echo in his ear?
1999   A. Arensberg Incubus vi. xvi. 184   He used to whisper to her while he aroused her, borrowing love words from classical pornography.

a1250—1999(Hide quotations)

 C2. Objective.

  love-breathing adj.

1612   A. Stafford tr. I. Lipsius Oration against Calumny in Medit. & Resol. 134   I shall desire this faire Audience..to fill and guide the sailes (as I may say) of my Oration, with the Zephyrus, or gentle gale of their loue-breathing thoughts [L. vela hæc, vt sic dicam, orationis meæ Zephyro beniuolentiæ vestræ afflate atque dirigite].
1744   J. Thomson Autumn in Seasons (new ed.) 157   In Rapture warbled from Love-breathing Lips.
1775   R. B. Sheridan Rivals iii. i. 51   What think you of blooming, love-breathing seventeen?
1839   J. A. Hillhouse Dramas I. 22   Love-breathing words, Without direction, date, or name.

1612—1839(Hide quotations)


  love-broking adj.

1808   E. S. Barrett Miss-led General 165   What money Mr. Greentimber disbursed on account of the great man's love-broking affairs.

1808—1808(Hide quotations)


  love-darting adj.

1606   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. (new ed.) ii. iii. 139   Her sweet, love-darting Eyne.
1637   J. Milton Comus 26   Love-darting eyes.
1788   ‘A. Pasquin’ Children of Thespis (ed. 2) iii. 39   See the love-darting blaze of her black rolling eye.
1844   R. F. Williams Secret Passion I. ii. 37   ‘By those divine and love-darting orbs, I am in no voice,’ replied the musician.

1606—1844(Hide quotations)


  love-devouring adj.

1599   W. Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet ii. v. 7   Then loue-deuouring death do what he dare.  View more context for this quotation
1683   J. Lead Revelation of Revelations 116   The Love devouring flame is come forth to kindle upon them.
1816   Ld. Byron Childe Harold: Canto III lxxix. 44   To that gentle touch, through brain and breast Flashed the thrill'd spirit's love-devouring heat.

1599—1816(Hide quotations)


  love-hating adj.

1594   R. Barnfield Affectionate Shepheard sig. E   And thou loue-hating Boy, (whom once I loued) Farewell, a thousand-thousand times farewell.
1807   ‘Q. Queerum’ Ashburner's New Vocal & Poetic Repository 8   Back the god of love flew, And wounded each heart of the love-hating crew.
1962   Educ. Theatre Jrnl. 14 169/2   A son-devouring and love-hating woman who hangs up the stuffed body of her deceased husband in a closet wherever she goes.
2003   Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram (Nexis) 10 Oct. 16 s   A love-hating self-help writer, and..a playboy men's-magazine journalist out to expose her softer side.

1594—2003(Hide quotations)


  love-inspiring adj.

1701   T. D'Urfey Bath ii. i. 13   The Love-inspiring Graces of thy Person.
1797   M. Robinson Walsingham I. 277   The love-inspiring dames of luxurious Italy.
1851   W. M. Thackeray in Scribner's Mag. 2 134/2   The Exhibition..was..a great love-inspiring, gooseflesh-bringing sight.
1934   Soda Springs (Idaho) Sun 4 Oct. 2/2   He's been inviting violence all his life. Not a sweet and love-inspiring chappie.
1999   Scotsman (Nexis) 28 Aug. 10   A roll-call of stories of maddening yet still love-inspiring parents, children and partners.

1701—1999(Hide quotations)


love-lacking adj. Obsolete

1532   T. More Confut. Tyndale in Wks. 403/1   His false loue-lacking charitie.
1593   W. Shakespeare Venus & Adonis sig. Eiijv   Loue-lacking vestals, and selfe-louing Nuns.  View more context for this quotation

1532—1593(Hide quotations)


love-performing adj. Obsolete

1599   W. Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet iii. ii. 5   Spread thy close curtaine loue-performing night.  View more context for this quotation

1599—1599(Hide quotations)


love-whispering adj. Obsolete

1742   A. Pope New Dunciad 298   Love-whisp'ring woods, and Lute-resounding waves.
a1790   W. Livingston Philos. Solitude in Landmark Anthol. (1793) 155   Love-whispering groves, and silver-streaming floods.

1742—a1790(Hide quotations)


love-frayner   n.  [ < love n.1 + frayne v. + -er suffix1] Obsolete rare

c1440  (?a1375)    Abbey Holy Ghost (Thornton) in G. G. Perry Relig. Pieces in Prose & Verse (1914) 62   Þat he ne do no trispase agayne þe rewle..of þis relegion and of þase lufefrayners.

c1440—c1440(Hide quotations)


  love-monger   n.

1591   J. Lyly Endimion i. iii. sig. B4   Thys idle humor of loue..tickleth not my lyuer, from whence the Loue-mongers in former age seemed to inferre they should proceede.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost ii. i. 254   Thou art an old Loue-monger .  View more context for this quotation
1772   J. Entick New Spelling Dict. (new ed.)    Lovemonger, s. one who deals in affairs of love.
1865   A. C. Swinburne Chastelard i. ii. 35   These jangling song-smiths are keen love-mongers, They snap at all meats.
1962   Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press 13 Mar. 9/4   She is natural prey to the..cynically patient love-mongers that exist in the shadows of a corrupt society.
2001   Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press (Nexis) 27 Sept. a22   The love mongers, who preach endlessly about loving everything and love as a way of salvation are really not talking about love.

1591—2001(Hide quotations)

 C3. Adverbial (chiefly instrumental), parasynthetic, and similative.

  love-born adj.

1668   T. Jordan Money is Asse v. i. 40   Our Parents did..propagate the world, with love born Creatures.
1754   G. Jeffreys Misc. 33   Wrong'd by Love-born Jealousy, She fled.
1838   E. S. Wortley Lays of Leisure Hours II. 472   Often have I..deemed Life's happiest moments were Ev'n those that owned no love-born care.

1668—1838(Hide quotations)


  love-crossed adj.

1787   F. Grose Superstitions 3 in Provinc. Gloss.   But if any disconsolate old maiden, or love-crossed bachelor, happened to dispatch themselves in their garters, the room where the deed was perpetrated was rendered forever uninhabitable.
1885   R. Bridges Eros & Psyche viii. iv. 93   Many an old love-crossed And doleful ditty would she gently sing.
1963   F. L. Lucas Drama of Chekhov, Synge, Yeats, & Pirandello i. 14   He was thinking early in 1901 of a play about a love-crossed scientist going on an expedition to the Arctic.
2004   Gloucs. Citizen (Nexis) 15 July 1   People will be able to see the Bard at his best with love-crossed nobles, mischievous servants and fools and jesters galore.

1787—2004(Hide quotations)


  love-deep adj.

1832   Ld. Tennyson Eleänore in Poems (new ed.) 29   The languors of thy lovedeep eyes.
1988   N. C. L. Madgett Octavia ii. 83   Even in this world may the love-deep roots of trees conquer evil's senseless blight.

1832—1988(Hide quotations)


love-dittied adj. Obsolete

1725   E. Fenton in A. Pope et al. tr. Homer Odyssey I. i. 532   Love-dittied airs [Gk. ἱμερόεσσαν ἀοιδὴν], and dance, conclude the day.
1835   R. Mant British Months 194   Thou..Dost sweetly with love-dittied song Help the slow-pacing hours along.

1725—1835(Hide quotations)


  love-enthralled adj.

1665   R. Brathwait Comment Two Tales Chaucer 23   We are now to..descend to our love-enthralled Absolon.
a1910   J. W. Howe Hippolytus (1941) ii. i. 88   At thy feet he lies To rise no more but shorn and love-enthralled.

1665—a1910(Hide quotations)


  love-fond adj. rare

1823   T. Roscoe tr. J. C. L. de Sismondi Hist. Lit. Europe IV. xxxvi. 458   The melancholy soul of a love-fond poet.

1823—1823(Hide quotations)


  love-illumined adj.

a1791   T. Blacklock Poems (1793) 168   Let her fly The tender lisp, the love-illumin'd eye.
1910   E. M. Barton Litany 72   Youths and maidens, now so hopefully surveying The love-illumined avenue of life.

a1791—1910(Hide quotations)


  love-inspired adj.

1691   E. Taylor in tr. J. Behmen Theosoph. Philos. 204   No Tongue or Pen can more than smatter, at the recital of the love-inspired Words.
1754   T. Cooke Hymn to May 8   Now the love-inspired Swain Breathes his Vows.
1785   A. Yearsley Poems Several Occasions 28   His mate Shall love-inspired notes repeat.
1877   P. J. Bailey Festus (ed. 10) xviii. 273   To assimilate to his own, All spirits, that, love-inspired, they share his boundless throne.
1942   Philos. & Phenomenol. Res. 2 285   He is attracted by the love inspired and selfless proselytism of St. Francis.
2005   Leamington Spa Courier (Nexis) 26 Sept.   The New Year brings Vivaldi concertos and Bach sonatas with more Quartets and Valentines's Day love-inspired music.

1691—2005(Hide quotations)


  love-instructed adj.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1593) i. sig. H5   Then did he slack his loue-enstructed pace.
1882   W. Carleton Farm Ballads (rev. ed.) 121   Leaves picked by love-instructed art From off the branches of the heart.

a1586—1882(Hide quotations)


  love-laboured   adj.

1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost v. 41   The night-warbling Bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song.  View more context for this quotation
1696   J. Lead Fountain of Gardens sig. *E3v   Let all the Heavenly Nine..in one high Love-labour'd Song agree.
1757   W. Thompson Gondibert & Birtha in Poems on Several Occasions i. iii. 339   The Love-labour'd Song of Nightingales.
1867   A. Cary Bishop's Son xi. 200   The night warbling bird, that now awake, Tunes sweetest his love-labored song.

1667—1867(Hide quotations)


  love-laden adj.

1772   S. Whyte Shamrock 20   A chearless Guest, Yok'd with Despair, in a Love-laden Breast.
1820   P. B. Shelley To Skylark in Prometheus Unbound 203   Soothing her love-laden Soul in secret hour With music sweet as love.
1908   New Reformer July 119   The British Conquest of India freed three millions of the population to enjoy the love-laden atmosphere of Christianity.

1772—1908(Hide quotations)


love-learned adj. Obsolete

1595   E. Spenser Epithalamion in Amoretti & Epithalamion v. sig. G6   The birds louelearned song.

1595—1595(Hide quotations)


  love-lighted adj.

1785   T. Dwight Conquest of Canäan iii. 64   For earth too bright were these love-lighted fires!
1904   Daily Chron. 9 Feb. 5/2   Peering through the pale miracle of spring at his violets,..his blear eyes love-lighted.

1785—1904(Hide quotations)


  love-lit adj.

a1809   A. Seward Poet. Wks. (1810) III. 63   Long shall thy love-lit eyes be dim If soon thou art not bravely free.
1948   E. Blunden Shakespeare to Hardy (1964) 208   Here she is in her father's garden, flowering, love-lit, awaiting the slow old Nurse.

a1809—1948(Hide quotations)


  love-mad adj.

1657   J. Harington Hist. Polindor & Flostella (ed. 3) ii. 60   Nor wonder, Chain'd, since grew Love-mad, distracted.
1839   H. Hallam Introd. Lit. Europe IV. vi. 451   Love-mad and yet talking in gallant conceits.
1918   E. R. Burroughs Tarzan & Jewels of Opar xiv. 161   I have saved his priestess from love-mad Tantor.
2003   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 13 Feb. 24/1   Among them are the love-mad queen Phaedra..and the wild-eyed Cassandra in Trojan Women.

1657—2003(Hide quotations)


love-open adj. Obsolete

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1593) i. sig. H5v   His loue-open eye..that eu'n did marke hir troden grasse.

a1586—a1586(Hide quotations)


love-pensive adj. Obsolete

1717   E. Fenton tr. Homer Odyssey xi, in Poems 101   Wand'ring Love-pensive near his Amber Stream.
1770   J. Armstrong Forced Marriage i. ii, in Misc. II. 79   A hopeful youth to grow love-pensive!

1717—1770(Hide quotations)


  love-proof adj.

1749   S. Richardson Clarissa (ed. 2) III. lxxvi. 363   For already I am convinced, that there is not a woman in the world that is Love-proof and Plot-proof, if she be not the person.
1810   Splendid Follies III. 121   The widow..placed herself opposite this love-proof hero.
1888   N. F. Davin Eos 26   Cold, love proof maid, serene, omnipotent In arms.
1941   T. R. Ybarra Young Man of Caracas i. 9   Despite her conquests, Minnie Russell remained love-proof.
2002   Times (Nexis) 27 Apr.   He..is suddenly stuck with a very uncool child (Hoult), who starts invading every corner of his love-proof life.

1749—2002(Hide quotations)


love-quick adj. Obsolete

1595   S. Daniel First Fowre Bks. Ciuile Warres ii. lxxix. sig. K3   [She] her loue-quicke eies which ready be, Fastens on one.

1595—1595(Hide quotations)


love-shaked adj. Obsolete rare

a1616   W. Shakespeare As you like It (1623) iii. ii. 355   I am he that is so Loue-shak'd, I pray you tel me your remedie.  View more context for this quotation

a1616—a1616(Hide quotations)


  love-smitten adj.

1833   A. Domett Poems 174   Those eyes, whose language did surpass The eye-talk of love-smitten lass.
1996   A. Lykiard tr. L. Aragon Irene's Cunt 64   Let your two motionless palms, your love-smitten mitts on that prominent curve, join up towards the hardest, best point which raises the holy ogive to its peak.

1833—1996(Hide quotations)


love-spent adj. Obsolete

1648   R. Herrick Hesperides sig. I4v   The love-spent Youth, and love-sick Maid.
1654   T. White Contempl. of Heaven ii. 132   The most charming Mystery, and inchanting Riddle, that ever love-spent bowels were able to sing or sigh out.

1648—1654(Hide quotations)


  love-starved adj.

1880   M. H. De la Cherois-Crommelin Black Abbey III. 322   At first, poor love-starved Nannie listened with avidity.
1909   Westm. Gaz. 24 July 2/1   Love-starved young Keats hath cast his gift of clay.
1996   Company Dec. 42/1   The latest trend in love-starved Hollywood, a town where you can't move for gorgeous lovelies, arm in arm with dweebs.

1880—1996(Hide quotations)


  love-stricken adj.

1750   H. Snell Female Soldier 132   Our Hannah pretended to be love-stricken, at the very first Sight.
1806   T. S. Surr Winter in London II. x. 235   Bless me, the youth is love-stricken!
1992   New Yorker 24 Aug. 80/3   Willis has a fine-beaten air as a love-stricken schlub.

1750—1992(Hide quotations)


  love-touched adj.

1831   L. E. Landon Improvisatrice 61   Those winged words of soul and flame, Breathed in the dark-eyed beauty's ear By some young love-touched cavalier.
1872   A. T. de Vere Arraignment in Legends St. Patrick 7   Like birds that cannot stay their songs Love-touched in Spring.

1831—1872(Hide quotations)


  love-wounded adj.

1587   G. Turberville Tragicall Tales 198   Where the blinded archer with his bow Did glaunce at sundry gallants euery day..Yet must I seeme loue wounded eke to be.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) i. ii. 114   Loue wounded Protheus.
1905   A. C. Swinburne Poems II. 109   A heart love-wounded whereto love was law.

1587—1905(Hide quotations)


 C4. attributive. slang (frequently euphemistic). As the first element in nouns denoting the male or female genitals (or occasionally other parts of the body considered in the context of sexual activity).

1856   W. Whitman Leaves of Grass (new ed.) 172   Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs,..love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching.
c1890   My Secret Life IX. i   How soft and smooth,..solid, stiff, yet semi-elastic is the male love truncheon.
1896   J. S. Farmer & W. E. Henley Slang IV. 241/2   Love-lane,..the female pudendum.
c1930   Confessions of Virtuous Wife 65   I so tickled the little button just at the entrance of her love grotto, that she hugged me convulsively to her bosom.
1962   P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn xlii. 386   Ya make me nervous with that death talk and my love bone goes down.
1990   Maledicta 1988–9 10 52   Terms of endearment for women's breasts,..love pillows.
2006   Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 30 Nov. (Essential section) 8   Leading men often leap for the love button without any attempt at foreplay.

1856—2006(Hide quotations)


 C5. attributive. Applied to a game or set of games in which one side has not scored. Cf. sense 9.

1833 [see love game n. at Compounds 6].
1878   J. Marshall Ann. Tennis 158   Love-set, a set in which one player wins six consecutive games; or, in case of an advantage-set, seven consecutive games.
1884   Pall Mall Gaz. 25 Apr. 3/2   In the two first days' play the whole of the heats were love victories.
1930   Southtown Economist (Chicago) 8 Aug. 5/4   To the player winning the most love sets in proportion to the number of matches played, will be presented a racket press.
2003   O. Shine Lang. Tennis 75   A love match, these days, would be unheard of, but at a Seattle tournament in 1910 Hazel Hotchkiss won 48 straight points to beat a Miss Huiskamp 6–0, 6–0 without losing a point.

1833—2003(Hide quotations)


love amour   n. Obsolete rare sexual love (as distinguished from friendship).

a1500  (a1400)    Ipomedon (Chetham) (1889) 127   Owghte she covthe of love amowre.

a1500—a1500(Hide quotations)


love-awe   n. Obsolete rare = love-dread n.

?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 315   Ma of liðe wordes þenne of sturne, for þer of kimeð þinge best. þet is luue eie.
a1500   How Good Man taught his Son (Cambr.) 141 in Erlanger Beiträge zur Englischen Philol. (1889) 2 33   With lone [read loue] awe, sone, þy wyfe chastyse.

?c1225—a1500(Hide quotations)


love-badge   n. Obsolete rare (perhaps) a badge indicating profession of amorous allegiance (applied humorously to a threadbare cloak).

1656   J. Mennes & J. Smith Musarum Deliciæ 35   Another ask't me..Whether I wore a Love-bagge on my shoulder?

1656—1656(Hide quotations)


  love beads   n. (a necklace of) coloured beads worn as a symbol of love; spec. one symbolizing universal brotherly love (characteristically associated with the hippie subculture of the 1960s).

1928   Havre (Montana) Daily News Promoter 22 June 2/7 (advt.)    Bohemian love beads.
1967   Fresno (Calif.) Bee 23 Aug. a3/7   Hippy bag... Holds everything. Love beads, books..you name it.
1968   Daily Colonist (Victoria, Brit. Columbia) 20 June 1/5   Love beads draped on him by Pierre Trudeau, adorn former Prime Minister Pearson at Toronto political rally.
1969   R. Lowell Notebk. 1967–8 (1970) 217   Our love-beads Rattling together to show that we were young.
1973   ‘B. Mather’ Snowline xiii. 155   Weirdo fringed shirts, headbands, love beads..as unsavoury a bunch of love children as I have ever seen.
2003   D. Gaines Misfit's Manifesto xv. 328   There had been long-standing rumors of Johnny all douched up in the '60s with love beads, a headband, and bell-bottoms, but I said nothing.

1928—2003(Hide quotations)


  love-begotten adj. now rare (of a child) = illegitimate adj. 2a.

1761   T. Smollett Sir Launcelot Greaves in Brit. Mag. Dec. 631/1   He owned she was a love-begotten babe.
1771   T. Smollett Humphry Clinker I. 172   That he had been a love-begotten babe, brought up in the work-house.
1784   Registers of River, Kent (MS)    Mary, daughter of Ann Allen—Love begotten, [baptized].
1843   J. S. Knowles Secretary v. iv, in Dramatic Wks. (1859) 454   He was of noble stock, and told you true—My eldest brother's love-begotten son!

1761—1843(Hide quotations)


love bend   n. Obsolete a chain or bond of love.

a1300   in C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 117   Maide dreiȝ & wel itaucht, ic em in þine loue-bende.
c1330  (?c1300)    Guy of Warwick (Auch.) 324   Leuer him wer walk & wende, & dye in trewe loue bende.

a1300—c1330(Hide quotations)


  love bite   n. a playful bite on the skin from a lover; (hence) a kiss delivered with a sucking action, leaving a temporary mark or bruise, esp. as a sexual act; (also) a mark left on the skin by such a kiss; cf. hickey n. 2.

1749   J. Cleland Mem. Woman of Pleasure II. 63   Then the turtle-billing kisses, and the poignant painless love-bites.
1778   tr. J. Lernutius in tr. J. Secundus Kisses (ed. 3) x. 108 (note)    Poignant Love-Bites, and the nimble Tongue, Shall the dear Wanderer recal.
1903   H. Ellis Stud. Psychol. Sex III. 71   We may find references to love-bites in the literature of ancient as well as of modern times... In the Indian Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana a chapter is devoted to this subject.
1972   Daily Tel. 29 Jan. 3/1   Once I saw her sitting in class with a love bite on her neck.
2004   J. Meno Hairstyles of Damned 142   She had this love bite, you know, on her neck; one bright red mark at the base of her throat.

1749—2004(Hide quotations)


  love-blink   n. Scottish a look indicative of love; an amorous glance.

?1507   W. Dunbar Tua Mariit Wemen (Rouen) in Poems (1998) I. 47   I cast on him a crabit e..And lettis it is a luf blenk.
1636   S. Rutherford Lett. (1863) I. 155   My Bridegroom's love-blinks fatten my weary soul.
1716   J. Willison Treat. conc. Sanctifying Lord's Day 261   Can you say there is nothing..would please you so much as one Ray or Love-blink of his [sc. Christ's] Countenance?
1823   R. Story In my Hey-day of Youth in Poet. Wks. (1857) 35   If there's gloom in her e'e..It stays na sae lang till it quite disappears, Laughed aff by a love-blink.
1890   J. Coghill Poems, Songs, & Sonnets 148   Mark the luve-blink in here e'e.
1927   J. Carruthers Man Beset i. §3   ‘I canna thole women.’.. James laughed... ‘Wait till ane o' them gies ye the love-blink.’

?1507—1927(Hide quotations)


  love-book   n.  (a) the Old Testament book of ‘the Song of Solomon’, the ‘Song of Songs’ (see song n.1 Phrases 1b) (obsolete);  (b) a book treating of love.

?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 82   As mi leofmon seið to me in þet luue boke, ‘osculetur me osculo oris sui’.
1587   F. Clement Petie Schole sig. Cijv   Bookeloue I say, but I meane not louebookes, which..be the enemies of vertue.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) i. i. 19   Pro. For I will be thy beades-man, Valentine. Val. And on a loue-booke pray for my successe?  View more context for this quotation
1690   T. Shadwell Amorous Bigotte i. i. 2   What's here? a wicked and profane Love Book.
1845   N. P. Willis Dashes at Life with Free Pencil ii. 64   He has written Henrietta Temple—the silliest yet truest love-book of modern time.
1936   C. S. Lewis Allegory of Love iv. 172   Hence those strange comings and goings in every medieval love-book.
2003   SubStance 32 29   It is a love book, but the torturers ascribe a different value to it and don't understand it.

?c1225—2003(Hide quotations)


  love-boy   n.  (a) Cupid (obsolete rare);  (b) a male lover (cf. lover-boy n. at lover n.2 Compounds 2a) (rare);  (c) a catamite.

1655   R. Davenport King Iohn & Matilda v. sig. H2   The wound that foolish love-Boy there..Had struck your heart with.
a1656   J. Ussher Ann. World (1658) vi. 131   Pausanias, being discovered by Argilius, his love-boy.
1914   C. Mackenzie Sinister St. II. iv. iv. 930   Good job if that love-boy of hers does punch into her. Silly cow! She ought to know better.
1993   J. Peck Argura 61   He turns away to returning love-boy, she returns to father.

1655—1993(Hide quotations)


  love brat   n. rare = love-child n.   (also in extended use).

a1700   in R. Nares Gloss. (1822)    Four love brats will be laid to thee.
1998   Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 12 May 28   Your own zany brand of humour..is surely the cheeky love brat of Howard Stern and Jenny Eclair.

a1700—1998(Hide quotations)


  love broker   n. a person who acts as an agent between lovers (also in extended use).

a1616   W. Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) iii. ii. 34   There is no loue-Broker in the world, can more preuaile in mans commendation with woman, then report of valour.  View more context for this quotation
1698   E. Settle Farther Def. Dramatick Poetry 16   Our Diminitive Love-broker has no more Hand in the Affair, then meer starting the Game.
1794   G. Palomba L'Amore Contrastato i. vii. 13   I am no love-broker.
1885   Times 8 May 11/4   She reveals herself as a love-broker, a weekly lender of love.
1988   Toronto Star (Nexis) 30 May c4 (headline)    Movie casting directors really love brokers... At least six of their [on-screen] pairings have developed into real-life romances.
2007   San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News (Nexis) 20 June h3   That 21st-century dating experience led Koechel to seek out a practitioner of an ages-old custom: matchmaking... These love brokers reflect modern life.

a1616—2007(Hide quotations)


  love call   n.  (a) a call or other expression of emotion used by one lover to another;  (b) a cry or sound made by an animal during courtship or in order to attract a mate.

1600   Englands Helicon sig. I4 (title)    Phillidaes Loue-call to her Coridon, and his replying.
1824   M. R. Mitford Our Village I. 198   In less than two minutes Harriet heard the love-call sounded at Sally's gate.
1880   A. H. Swinton Insect Variety v. 209   A love-call that reproduces..the strutting, wing-drumming, and rustling of the males of the turkey and grouse at the pairing time.
1887   Athenæum 31 Dec. 901/3   He [sc. Mr. Rowbotham] disagrees with Darwin in finding the origin of all instrumental music in the love-call.
a1933   J. A. Thomson Biol. for Everyman (1934) I. xx. 645   Partly a challenge..it is also a love-call; and the male bird has a simple courtship ritual of strutting before his desired mate.
2002   New Scientist 15 June 32/1   In Panama, predatory bats home in on the night-time love calls of male tungara frogs.

1600—2002(Hide quotations)


love cause   n. Obsolete a love affair, a matter of the heart; (in later uses also) one regarded as a case that may be argued.

1601   tr. M. Martínez 9th Pt. Mirrour of Knight-hood sig. Hh2v   The great and famous Captaine Bembo rose up, who in Loue causes [Sp. en casos de amor] desired euer to bee the first.
a1616   W. Shakespeare As you like It (1623) iv. i. 91   In all this time there was not anie man died in his owne person (videlicet) in a loue cause .  View more context for this quotation
1668   P. M. Cimmerian Matron 11 in W. Charleton Ephesian & Cimmerian Matrons   Her Clients were often forced to gratifie her, for solliciting their Love-causes, with such Fees.
1798   A. Schink tr. A. von Kotzebue Stranger iv. i. 46   You must..plead my Love-cause with Mrs. Smith.
1824   C. M. Sedgwick Redwood III. xx. 130   Depend on it, a love cause is better in the hands of the principal than the most eloquent agent.

1601—1824(Hide quotations)


  love comic   n. a comic (comic n. 4) in which the principal ingredient of the stories is love.

1948   Waukesha (Winsconsin) Daily Freeman 26 Feb. 10/3   The reader who fights for each installment of high adventure, mass homicide, glamor and love comics is an ‘ego enhancement’ type.
1951   M. McLuhan Mech. Bride 151/2   It recently shifted a large section of its enterprises from murder to love comics.
1970   G. Greer Female Eunuch 214   The market is contested by..love comics and fotoromance.
1992   S. Tharoor Show Business (1995) v. 254   The house is already littered with cassette tapes, love comics, costume jewelry, and pinup posters.

1948—1992(Hide quotations)


  love-cup   n.  (a) a love potion or philtre; = loving cup n. 1   (obsolete);  (b) = loving cup n. 2.

1561   J. Daus tr. H. Bullinger Hundred Serm. vpon Apocalips xlii. 280   Poysoning, louecuppes, and inchauntmentes [L. venena, philtra & incantationes], were in the time of S. Iohn most frequented, through out the Romane Empire.
1680   H. More Apocalypsis Apocalypseos xviii. 182   Her poisoned Philter or Love-Cup.
1792   E. Sibly New & Compl. Illustr. Occult Sci. (new ed.) iv. 1111   As for philtres, love-cups, and the like, they unquestionably proceed from a natural cause.
1849   D. Rock Church of our Fathers IV. xi. 86   The love-cup was sent about.
1891   A. Austin Human Trag. iii. 162   Then shall no love-cup cheat the toils that tire Nor care be chased by wedlock's staunch caress.
1925   E. H. Haight Horace & Art of Enjoym. 204   In reply to his piteous appeal Canidia only invokes Night and Diana to aid her in preparing a more potent love cup for the man who scorns her.
1933   Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald 18 Apr. 1/2   He had admitted buying for $4 the silver ‘love cup’.
2000   Sentinel (Stoke-on-Trent) (Nexis) 25 Apr.   Mead and fruit wine were served in Tudor three-handled ‘love-cups’.

1561—2000(Hide quotations)


  love curl   n. a lovelock, esp. one on the forehead.

1840   Burton's Gentleman's Mag. Feb. 69   An aggravator, or love curl, of a delicate roundness, hung low upon the imperial forehead.
1926   T. E. Lawrence Seven Pillars (subscribers' ed.) lxxxvii. 461   In command was young Metaab, stripped to his skimp riding-drawers for hard work, with his black love-curls awry.
1971   Sun (Lowell, Mass.) 9 Sept. 21/2   The ‘Love Touch’ is a casual cap of a coiffure highlighted by love curls, braids or waves.

1840—1971(Hide quotations)


  love darg   n. Scottish a service or piece of work given or performed as a gift from one neighbour to another.

1761   Petition P. Yeaman in Sessions Papers 28 July 13   That he and others went [to clean the mill-leads], and some did not; which made the deponent believe it was a love-dargue.
1895   ‘I. Maclaren’ Days Auld Lang Syne 338   It's a love-darg,..because ye've been sober..they juist want to show kindness, bein' oor neeburs.
1960   Huntly Express 27 May in Sc. National Dict. (1965) VI. 166/1   Mr Smith seems to have been a popular type and instead of offering him a present or standing him a complimentary dinner, the farmers decided to treat him to a love darg.

1761—1960(Hide quotations)


  love dart   n. Zoology (in gastropod molluscs of the genus Helix) a calcareous spicule that a snail drives into the body wall of its partner prior to copulation.

1877   F. P. Pascoe Zool. Classif. 122   A curious organ is a pyriform muscular sac, containing one or two slender conical styles, which can be thrust out through the aperture of the sac; they are found in certain snails, and with them they pierce each other's skin. They are known as ‘love-darts’.
1958   J. E. Morton Molluscs vii. 132   The vagina develops also a muscular caecum, the dart sac, in which is produced a fine-pointed calcareous shaft, about 5/16in. long, and delicately ridged. This is the telum amoris, or ‘love dart’, which is exchanged by the partners with some velocity before courtship.
2005   Trends in Ecol. & Evol. 20 582/2   The use of the love dart (laced with hormones from the dart sac-associated mucus glands) increases the number of escaping spermatozoa.

1877—2005(Hide quotations)


  love-deed   n. now rare an action proceeding from love.

c1390  (?a1325)    Long Charter of Christ (Vernon) A. l. 62 in F. J. Furnivall Minor Poems Vernon MS (1901) ii. 642 (MED)   And þis I made for Monkynde, Mi loue-dedes to haue in mynde.
a1631   J. Donne Poems (1633) 223   Gentle love-deeds, as blossomes on a bough, From loves awakened root do bud out now.
1846   J. Keble Lyra Innocentium (1862) 58   So many love-deeds done, to cease Her kindly toil..Small joy to her would seem.
1891   T. D. Sullivan tr. Ailleen & Baille in Blanaid & Other Poems 98   The saddest, sweetest love deeds done In Ulster's noble land.
1911   E. Toldridge Mother's Love Songs in William & Mary Q. 19 296   Love-words, love-deeds, and tenderer, too, Than we give to any other.

c1390—1911(Hide quotations)

1709   J. Johnson Clergy-man's Vade Mecum: Pt. II 69   Pharmacy probably signifies here..the compounding of philtrums or love-doses.
1966   Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram 11 Aug. a22/1 (headline)    Eagles get love dose... Golden eagles..are being given a love potion because the birds will not mate.

1709—1966(Hide quotations)


  love draught   n. a love potion or philtre.

1647   R. Stapleton tr. Juvenal Sixteen Satyrs 85   Their love-draughts, charmes, and druggs [L. hippomanes carmenque..coctumque uenenum].
1751   J. Stirling tr. Horace Wks. I. v. v. 159/2   Dry'd liver might be a love draught [L. amoris poculum].
1841   G. Borrow Zincali I. ii. i. 228   The women..dealing in love draughts and diablerie.
1906   Westm. Gaz. 27 Aug. 3/1   The love-draught which Tristram and Iseult drink together.
2002   Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 13 July 5   We talked on into the night about the morality of love draughts.

1647—2002(Hide quotations)


love-dread   n. Obsolete fear that proceeds from love.

a1400   Ancrene Riwle (Pepys) (1976) 159   Haue swich drede to hym as þe good wyf haþ to hir housbonde, þat is, a loue drede for loue þat sche haþ to hym.
a1425   J. Wyclif Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) II. 316   Love-drede is in men wiþouten siche servile drede.
c1450   Jacob's Well (1900) 243   For þe loue-dreed þat sche hadde to god.
1641   W. Vaughan Sovles Exercise v. 181   He must take up the Crosse with Love-dread Note.

a1400—1641(Hide quotations)


  love drug   n. any drug that (supposedly) provokes or increases sexual desire, or enhances sexual performance; an aphrodisiac.

1613   J. Marston & W. Barksted Insatiate Countesse v. sig. I4v   Let him that hath drunke loue drugs trust a woman.
1876   J. B. L. Warren Soldier of Fortune iv. iv. 358   He would rub the love-drug from his eyes.
1954   Rev. Eng. Stud. 5 270   ‘Budded bosom-peaks’ seems to me too hackneyed..an indelicacy to come from Tennyson, even though he gives it to the mouth of Lucretius mad with a love-drug.
1969   Rolling Stone 17 May 3/4   The new ‘love drug’, MDA (3, 4-methylenedioxy-phenyl-iso-propylamine).
2002   Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 22 Apr. 5/8   A love drug that claims to trigger erections more quickly and safely than Viagra is expected to reach the Australian market next year.

1613—2002(Hide quotations)


love-drunk   n. Obsolete rare intoxication with love.

a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) vi. 307 (MED)   Lovedrunke is the meschief Above alle othre the most chief.

a1393—a1393(Hide quotations)


  love-favour   n.  (a) a gift (such as a ribbon, a glove, etc.) given to a lover, to be worn as a token of affection (see favour n. 7);  (b) favourable regard occasioned by love (obsolete);  (c) a kindness extended on behalf of love (obsolete).

1597   Bp. J. Hall Virgidemiarum: 1st 3 Bks. i. ii. 4   Deck't with loue-fauors.
1696   J. Lead Fountain of Gardens 85   In her Love-Favour you may all abide, to whom this Word of Counsel shall come.
1703   T. Baker Tunbridge-walks i. i. 8   I never desire any private Love-favours from 'em.
1860   T. B. Aldrich Ballad of Babie Bell 97   Such carrying of love-favors and pink notes!
1921   Nebraska State Jrnl. 18 Oct. 6/8   Thou [sc. a flower] wert pluckt and given to me, For a love-favor.

1597—1921(Hide quotations)


love-feat   n. Obsolete rare an act of courtship.

1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 124   And euery one his Loue-feat will aduance, Vnto his seuerall Mistres.  View more context for this quotation

1598—1598(Hide quotations)


  love fest   n. originally U.S. (usu. depreciative) an event or interaction characterized by (mutual) uncritical appreciation or affinity.

1907   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 6 Oct. (Sporting section) 9/3   After the fight was over the St. Louis papers referred to the affair as a kid glove love fest.
1950   F. Howley Berlin Command vi. 109   I grew skeptical about having a love fest after such a battle.
2006   Sunday Times (Nexis) 12 Mar. 15   Keating's extended chat with the writer..was an unexpurgated love-fest.

1907—2006(Hide quotations)


  love fever   n. lovesickness; (a feeling of) overwhelming or tormenting passion.

1637   S. Rutherford Let. 7 Mar. in Joshua Redivivus (1664) ci. 201   I dare beleeve no evil of Christ: if he would cool my love-fever for himself with reall presence & possession, I would be rich.
1753   S. Richardson Hist. Sir Charles Grandison I. 88   But when the Love-fever was at the height, did you make any-body uneasy with your passion?
1868   M. Collins Sweet Anne Page III. 105   The love-fever has variable symptoms.
1952   Ann. Amer. Acad. Polit. & Social Sci. 279 214/2   Weinstein argues effectively for love as the product of responsible family living and sanely deplores the love fever brand of romanticism.
2005   Barrie (Ont.) Examiner (Nexis) 2 May a8   Being romantic is terrific once you're in a relationship, but not if you work yourself into a love fever before you've even heard a Yes to a first date.

1637—2005(Hide quotations)


  love game   n.  (a) amorous sport or play; an instance of this;  (b) Sport and Games a game in which one side does not score (cf. sense 9).

a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 1020 (MED)   William wold fonde for to pleie in þat place þe priue loue game.
1591   Troublesome Raigne Iohn sig. D2v   Is all the bloud yspilt on either part..Growne to a loue-game and a Bridall feast?
1819   Metropolis (ed. 2) I. 133   It may be an useful lesson to yourself and to others who play the love-game at piquet.
1833   T. Hook Parson's Daughter I. vi. 106   Can't make a hazard..and has lost two love games.
1897   Earl of Suffolk et al. Encycl. Sport I. 264/2   (Curling) Souter, to score a love game; not to allow the opponents to score.
1925   F. Harris My Life & Loves I. 182   I waited a little while and then began the love game.
1978   Detroit Free Press 5 Mar. c2/1   Connors..quickly served a love game to tie the score.
1985   I. Opie & P. Opie Singing Game iv. 126   ‘Now you're married we wish you joy’ is, of course, tagged on to many a love game.
2003   O. Shine Lang. Tennis 80   An exchange of love games moved the set into a tie-break.

a1375—2003(Hide quotations)


  love glove   n. slang a condom.

1975   W. Kempton Teachers Guide Sex Educ. for Persons with Learning Disabilities iv. 55 (table)    Synonyms..Condom..rubber..sheik..love-glove.
1987   TV Guide 7 Nov. 6/2   Their standards and practices permitted the words ‘prophylactic’ and ‘contraceptive’ and even a student who calls a condom a ‘love glove’.
2005   L. Sussman Happy, Healthy & Sexy vi. 140   Remember your three Ls—lube (lots of it, the water-based kind), love glove and logic.

1975—2005(Hide quotations)


  love god   n.  (a) Mythology a god associated with or ruling over love and sex (cf. sex god n. (a) at sex n.1 Compounds 3);  (b) a man likened to a love god, esp. in being (sexually) attractive or sexually accomplished.

1598   G. Chapman in C. Marlowe & G. Chapman Hero & Leander (new ed.) iii. sig. Fv   The treasure which the Loue-god let him ioy In his deare Hero.
1609   W. Shakespeare Sonnets cliv. sig. K   The little Loue-God lying once a sleepe.  View more context for this quotation
1887   C. Bowen tr. Virgil Æneid i, in tr. Virgil in Eng. Verse 101   She addresses the Love-god plumed for the flight.
1961   W. Brandon Indians 113/2   The Pan of the later Pueblos, a humpbacked ithyphallic love god usually shown leeringly playing a seductive flute.
1982   Washington Post (Nexis) 19 Nov. (Weekend section) 19   James Dean, her safely dead love god.
2002   Loaded July (Encycl. Eroticus Suppl.) 4/1   Best position for aquatic fun. Deep penetration coupled with the steam should assure your status as a love god.

1598—2002(Hide quotations)


  love goddess   n.  (a) Mythology a goddess associated with or ruling over love and sex (cf. sex goddess n. (a) at sex n.1 Compounds 3);  (b) a woman likened to a love goddess, esp. in being voluptuous or (sexually) attractive (cf. Venus n.1 4).

1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. II. i. xii. 89   Beauty no longer swims decorated in her garniture, like Love-goddess hidden-revealed in her Paphian clouds.
1949   Mansfield (Ohio) News-Jrnl. 2 Jan. 7/7   Worshipped by the throng that has always revered cleavage above dramatic ability, Rita became what Life magazine termed the love goddess of the twentieth century.
1995   Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Sept. 226/2   The love-goddess contours of her body.
2001   Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 145 458   Aphrodite, the love-goddess,..bears a strong resemblance to the Semitic love-goddess Ishtar.

1837—2001(Hide quotations)


  love handle   n. slang (originally U.S.) (usually in plural) excess or unwanted fat at the waist.

1970   Current Slang (Univ. S. Dakota) 4 iii.–iv. 20   Love handles, the fat on one's sides.
1989   T. Clancy Clear & Present Danger xiii. 306   No longer a young man.., love handles at his waist, much of his hair gone.
2005   Cosmopolitan Aug. 141/4   My girlfriend had a tummy tuck to get rid of her belly... She says it was worth it, but I'd rather have her love handles.

1970—2005(Hide quotations)


  love-hate   n.  [after German Liebe-Hass (1915 or earlier, in Freud; now usually Hassliebe  ); compare earlier hate-love n. at hate n. Compounds 2] originally Psychoanalysis  (a) a contrastive state of both love and hate existing towards the same object (rare);  (b) attributive designating or involving a relationship characterized by ambivalent feelings of both love and hate.

1925   J. Riviere et al. tr. S. Freud Coll. Papers IV. 79   So the second antithesis, love-hate, reproduces the polarity pleasure-pain, which is bound up with the former.
1937   H. Nicolson Diary 16 June (1966) 302   Goering..has the love-hate complex of the average German bourgeois for England.
1950   E. J. Simmons Dostoevsky xix. 315   Versilov's..love-hate relations with Katerina which conclude with his mad attempt to murder her.
1972   Ld. Robens Ten Year Stint ii. 15   My personal relationship with the men and their leaders was schizophrenic—a sort of love-hate relationship.
2002   M. Holroyd Wks. on Paper 308   Television..has become the chief vehicle for a love-hate obsession with ‘personalities’.

1925—2002(Hide quotations)


  love-hate   v. transitive to manifest a love-hate relationship towards (a person, etc.); to love while at the same time hating.

1963   Sunday Gleaner Mag. (Kingston, Jamaica) 14 July 13/4   If he love-hates his mother, he's a neurotic personality.
1967   A. Wilson No Laughing Matter ii. 216   She love-hates him enough to be unable to leave him.
1985   N.Y. Times (Nexis) 20 Jan. iii. 1   Places in the city that are visited, pointed out, love-hated and pondered.
2002   A. N. Wilson Victorians xxii. 339   The boozy old boilers, the Mrs Gamps and Betsy Prigs whom Dickens love-hated, stayed away.

1963—2002(Hide quotations)


  love-hatred   n. an ambivalent feeling (for a person, etc.) consisting both of love and hatred.

1928   Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden City, Utah) 5 Aug. 4/1   Coupled to this love-hatred feature of the Smith situation, there is the great American admiration for the personality and career of Herbert Hoover.
1951   H. Hatfield Thomas Mann iii. 36   The protagonists in Two Friends, a novella of the love-hatred between a responsible burgher and a ne'er-do-well, afford a certain parallel to Thomas and Christian Buddenbrook.
1961   Times 18 Mar. 11/4   The love-hatred of Isolde for Tristan.
2002   Evening Standard (Nexis) 12 May (ES Mag.) 3   London born and bred, I share the love-hatred for my city of most Londoners.

1928—2002(Hide quotations)


  love heart   n.  (a) a loving or tender heart (obsolete rare);  (b) chiefly British a representation of the human heart as a symmetrical figure formed of two curves meeting in a point at one end and a cusp at the other, having romantic associations; (also) an object formed in this shape; cf. heart n. 24.

1649   J. Ellistone tr. J. Böhme Epist. xvii. viii. 140   I onely sought the pleasant love heart of Jesus Christ [Ger. das liebreiche Hertz Jesu Christi] to hide my selfe therein.
1907   Galveston (Texas) Daily News 8 Sept. 20/2   Above the altar hung two banded hearts of blue and white forget-me-nots, from which depended by streamers and love hearts of tulle a floral wedding belle of white tuberoses.
1990   Pink Paper 10 Feb. 5/4   Love Consultants will erect a giant loveheart sign outside the house of the admiree.
2002   R. Watson in A. Cattanach Story so Far iv. 95   She always drew love hearts.

1649—2002(Hide quotations)


love-hood   n. Obsolete a hood made of thin crape or gauze material; spec. a mourning-cape (see sense 11).

1650   L. Lawrence Epithalamium 6   Night in her Love-hood..Enters (the friendly crowd) attyr'd in Jet.
1663   R. Boyle Exper. & Consid. Colours (1664) 198   Such a kind of Transparency, as that of a Sive, a piece of Cyprus, or a Love-Hood.
1747   M. Delany Autobiogr. & Corr. (1861) II. 478   I shall make no more dark things; after three months black silk is worn with love hood.
1861   Times 19 Mar. 5/5   The ladies to wear black silk, plain muslin or long lawn, crepe or love hoods.
1893   B. Tuckerman P. Stuyvesant 151   The scarlet petticoat was to go to Gertruyd, the black love-hood to Annetje.

1650—1893(Hide quotations)


  love interest   n. a theme or episode in a story, film, etc., of which the main element is the affection of lovers; (also) an actor or character who represents this aspect.

1778   A. Ferguson Let. 7 Feb. in H. Mackenzie Life J. Home 117   I can conceive that the substitution of a love-interest for an interest of state, which the audience expected from the name of Alfred, may have baulked them.
1868   Times 25 Sept. 7/3   The statement that Richardson has created the love interest of modern novels is only true in the sense that Richardson created the modern novel.
1892   H. James Notebks. (1947) 129   There must be a ‘love-interest’—which is one and the same with the other parts of the situation.
1938   R. G. Collingwood Princ. Art v. 84   The cinema, where it is said to be a principle accepted by almost every manager that no film can succeed without a love-interest.
1961   C. S. Lewis Exper. in Crit. iv. 38   The story of excitement or mystery usually has a ‘love interest’ tacked on to it.
1990   Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) 28 Oct. iv. 7/3   She usually plays ‘the love interest’. But she hopes that will change as movies take a feminine tilt.
2004   Times Lit. Suppl. 4 June 18/1   The love interest, needless to say, was not with Briseis, but with Patroclus.

1778—2004(Hide quotations)


  love-lad   n. rare  (a) a lover (poetic in later use);  (b) Cupid (obsolete).

1586   W. Webbe Disc. Eng. Poetrie sig. Iiiii   The Cornation that among the loue laddes wontes to be worne much.
1632   J. Vicars tr. Virgil XII Aeneids i. 24   This love-lad [sc. Cupid] straight his mothers minde obeyes.
1907   Academy 19 Oct. 29/1   All along the willow-way My love-lad lies sleeping [i.e. dead].

1586—1907(Hide quotations)


love-lake   n.  [ < love n.1 + lake n.2] Obsolete rare = love-sport n.

c1330  (?a1300)    Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 2020   Her loue laike þou bi hald For þe loue of me.

c1330—c1330(Hide quotations)


love-lass   n. Obsolete rare a (female) sweetheart.

1594   R. Barnfield Affectionate Shepheard sig. Giiiv   Helen, Maenelaus louing, lou'd, louelie, a loue-lasse, Till spight full Fortune from a loue-lasse made her a loue-lesse Wife.
1610   R. Niccols England's Eliza in Mirour for Magistrates (new ed.) Induct. 776   So soone as Tython's love-lasse gan display Her opall colours in her Easterne throne.

1594—1610(Hide quotations)


love-late   n.  [ < love n.1 + lait n.2] Obsolete rare (in plural) amorous looks or demeanour.

?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 73   His echȝe aa bi hald þe ȝef þu makest..ani luuelates towart unðeawes.
a1400   Ancrene Riwle (Pepys) (1976) 38   Ȝiue me þi louelates, ȝe, to me and to non oþer.

?c1225—a1400(Hide quotations)


love-libel   n. Obsolete rare a love letter or message.

1602   T. Dekker Satiro-mastix sig. E4v   Sir Vau. I desire you to..read this Paper... Mini. Ile receiue no Loue libels perdy, but by word a mouth.

1602—1602(Hide quotations)


  love life   n. the aspect of a person's life relating to relationships with lovers.

1855   Putnam's Monthly Mag. Dec. 657/2   The love-life of Weatherford, his dauntless gallantry, his marvelous personal adventures and hair-breadth escapes, and chief of all, his wonderful eloquence.
1919   M. K. Bradby Psycho-anal. v. 59   The character and development of the infantile love for father and mother will have an influence on the whole love-life of later years.
1934   ‘R. West’ Mod. Rake's Progress 74   Ecclesiastics..called out to sanctify the love-life of our puny little George.
1959   A. Christie Cat among Pigeons viii. 89   Even Games Mistresses may have their love lives.
1972   T. Ardies This Suitcase xiii. 140   He's the guy who's trying to break up my love life.
2004   New Woman May 70/4   After she successfully sorts out her boss's love life, she becomes a love trainer and puts her all into sussing other people's relationships.

1855—2004(Hide quotations)


  love-light   n. radiance (of the eyes) expressing love; an instance of this.

1833   H. Coleridge She is not Fair (song) 10   I cease not to behold The love-light in her eye.
1852   P. J. Bailey Festus (ed. 5) 189   Her bright heart With lovelight glowed.
1907   Westm. Gaz. 17 May 2/3   In your dew-bright eyes,..Love-light shone beaming.
1950   N. Coward Sail Away in B. Day N. Coward: Compl. Lyrics (1998) 263/2   When the love-light is fading in your sweetheart's eye, Sail away—sail away.
1988   New Idea (Melbourne) 19 Mar. 4/1   Kylie: is that a lovelight in her eyes?

1833—1988(Hide quotations)


love-liking   n. Obsolete sexual affection (in early use also: spiritual longing).

c1390   in C. Brown Relig. Lyrics 14th Cent. (1924) 178   Þat is Marie, Moder fre..A loue-likyng is come to me To serue þat ladi.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add.) f. 259   In alle bestes is appetit of loue lykynge.
c1405  (c1390)    G. Chaucer Sir Thopas (Hengwrt) l. 138   Of romances that been reales Of Popes and of Cardynales And eek of loue-liking.
1579   T. North tr. Plutarch Liues 1116   Sometimes she [sc. Poppaea] woulde shut her dore against Nero..bicause she woulde keepe Nero in breath, and in loue liking still.
a1662   H. Lawes Treasury of Musick (1669) ii. 20   Short Love liking may find Jars, the Love that lasteth knows no Wars.
1834   T. De Quincey Sketches Life & Manners in Tait's Edinb. Mag. Mar. 93/1   Few men go, or can go, beyond a little love-liking, as it is called.
1880   J. Payne New Poems 2   I chide it for lack of love-liking.

c1390—1880(Hide quotations)


  love line   n.  (a) a love-letter; a line written by a lover (chiefly in plural); now rare;  (b) Palmistry = heart line n. at heart n., int., and adv. Compounds 3a.

1609   T. Heywood Troia Britanica 221   Now I these Loue-lines write.
a1616   W. Shakespeare All's Well that ends Well (1623) ii. i. 77   To giue great Charlemaine a pen in's hand And write to her a loue-line .  View more context for this quotation
?1668   T. Jordan Wealth Out-witted Ep. sig. A2v   Those days were spent in Love-lines, Drolls and Laughter.
1709   Tatler No. 40. 242   Shall this fresh ornament of the world, These precious love-lines, pass with other common things Amongst the wastes of time.
1914   H. Wales Brocklebank Riddle 263   I've been told that I have a very interesting left hand. The love line is in the left hand.
1977   New Musical Express 16 Jan. 8/4   Little Bob looks up from Velda's love lines and takes a slug of Southern Comfort.
2006   Spokesman-Rev. (Spokane, Washington) (Nexis) 27 Oct. w12   The energy helps her interpret the lines of the palm, including the life line..and the heart or love line (from below the forefinger to below the pinky).

1609—2006(Hide quotations)


  love match   n. a marriage or engagement of which the motive is love, and not worldly advantage or convenience.

1656   Duchess of Newcastle Natures Pictures x. 346   A procuring Bawd is to make Love-matches, and contrive Love-meetings.
1749   H. Fielding Tom Jones V. xiii. viii. 70   This was a Love-Match, as they call it, on both Sides; this is, a Match between two Beggars.  View more context for this quotation
1869   A. Trollope He knew he was Right I. xxv. 194   It was little enough she got by marrying him... But it was a love-match.
1915   Encycl. Relig. & Ethics VIII. 450/1   The Kāmasūtra permits love matches generally.
1997   C. Shaw Sc. Myths & Customs ix. 211   Folklore invariably presents the marriage of Malcolm and Margaret as a love match.

1656—1997(Hide quotations)


  love matter   n. an issue relating to romantic love; a love affair, a relationship (chiefly in plural).

1603   P. Holland tr. Plutarch Morals 1312   Eudoxus..asked the reason, why Ceres had no charge and superintendance over Love matters [Fr. des amours, Gk. τῶν ἐρωτικῶν].
1774   D. Turner Fashionable Daughter iii. 149   I do in reality think it an injury done a parent..to carry a love matter so far as I have undoubtedly done, without at least asking his consent.
1868   E. Edwards Life Sir W. Ralegh I. xv. 299   She was somewhat precocious in love matters.
2007   Daily News (N.Y.) (Nexis) 11 Feb. (Sports Final ed.) 37   Taurus... With love matters, stand up for yourself to avoid being taken advantage of.

1603—2007(Hide quotations)


love-money   n. Obsolete rare coins broken in two and divided between lovers or friends as a token of remembrance.

1837   Numismatic Jrnl. 1 141   The custom of breaking love-money as a pledge of fidelity.

1837—1837(Hide quotations)


  love nest   n. colloquial a place of retreat characterized by warmth and love; (in earlier use esp.) a home established by a newly married couple, or by a husband for his wife; (now more often) a secluded retreat for (esp. illicit or clandestine) lovers.

1853   A. Houssaye Philosophers & Actresses 222   His hand..had constructed in this palace, a graceful love-nest for his young wife.
1919   U. Sinclair Brass Check xi. 65   So before long we began to notice dark hints in the newspapers; such esoteric phrases as ‘Sinclair's love-nest’.
1970   G. Greer Female Eunuch 154   Nobody knew of his love-nest.
1972   ‘H. Howard’ Nice Day for Funeral ix. 124   Pamela and Frankie were sharing a love-nest at Lakeland Towers.
1999   C. Brookmyre One Fine Day in Middle of Night (2000) 84   The bastard had been using the place as his own private, five-star love nest, and the skeleton staff on duty..had assumed she was his wife.

1853—1999(Hide quotations)


love-nettled adj. Obsolete rare deeply in love, aroused by love (see also quot. 1599 at nettle v. 3).

1622   T. Walkley tr. J. de Luna Pursuit Hist. Lazarillo xvi. 184   I was so loue-nettled, that if they had asked me the Phœnix..I would haue giuen it them.

1622—1622(Hide quotations)


  love note   n.  (a) a musical note in a love song (chiefly in plural); (also) an animal's love call;  (b) a written note expressing love, a brief love letter.

1795   J. Hunt Miscellany 25   The noise resembling the beating of a watch, is only the love-note of these animals.
1840   C. Norton Dream 205   The borrowed love-notes of thy echoing lyre.
1842   A. De Vere Waldenses 56   Take back this paper To Him that sent it... When I have written A little love note on the other side.
1940   R. Graves No more Ghosts 41   Dangerous it had been with love-notes To serenade Queen Famine.
1960   J. Kerouac Let. 14 Sept. in Sel. Lett. 1957–69 (1999) 263   I write the hostess a love note saying ‘I love you because you're a simple brunette.’
2006   Time Out N.Y. 11 May 91/3   Tossed and forgotten items—love notes, missing-pet posters, grocery lists, etc.

1795—2006(Hide quotations)


  love object   n. the object (esp. a person) on which love is centred.

1869   Catholic World 8 821/2   This love-object is a third person.
1916   Criminal Sci. Monogr. Sept. 249   The child is now capable of the choice of a love-object accompanied by erotic feelings.
1925   J. Riviere et al. tr. S. Freud Coll. Papers IV. 45   In the choice of their love-object they have taken as their model not the mother but their own selves.
1960   C. Day Lewis Buried Day vii. 137   When it became apparent that..as a love-object, I myself was unsatisfactory, she started on dogs.
1973   S. Fisher Female Orgasm xv. 437   Orgasm difficulties were observed to be linked to concern about the instability or potential loss of love objects.
2003   New Republic 12 May 37/2   A classic serial monogamist, Breton clung to the notion of l'amour fou, the idea of the one predestined love object.

1869—2003(Hide quotations)


  love offering   n. a gift offered as an expression of love, devotion, etc.; spec. (chiefly U.S.) a charitable donation, esp. one made to a church or missionary.

1620   J. Lewis Ignis Cœlestis 104   By prayer we shall offer vp a loue-offering, sweet and delightfull to the Lord our God.
1791   J. White Adventures King Richard Coeur-de-lion II. xxviii. 168   [A] tender lay, to be presented as a love-offering to the incomparable Celestina.
1893   Decatur (Illinois) Daily Republican 16 Sept.   The spokesman..presented the donations, and the parson..replied in a few touching and appropriate remarks. It was a love-offering from an appreciative people.
1935   Times 19 Nov. 16/6 (advt.)    We need £200,000 in gifts or legacies. Send your donation, your love-offering..to the Treasurer.
1968   Jrnl. Sci. Stud. Relig. 7 29/2   Pentecostal financial activity is personal and reciprocal,..money is given as a ‘love-offering’ in direct proportion to the importance of the non-material gift that the donor feels he has received.
2006   Daily Star (Nexis) 3 Nov. 38   What is the most exotic love offering ever made? In third place is Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his favourite wife.

1620—2006(Hide quotations)


love paper   n. Obsolete a love letter.Apparently an isolated use.

a1627   T. Middleton No Wit (1657) i. 22   Peruse this love paper as you go. Mr Low. A Letter?

a1627—a1627(Hide quotations)


love-pass   n. Obsolete = love passage n.

1872   T. Hardy Under Greenwood Tree I. i. viii. 113   Good luck attended Dick's love-passes during the meal. He sat next Fancy.

1872—1872(Hide quotations)


  love passage   n. an incident of amatory experience; a romantic interlude.

1661   Princess Cloria v. 512   Some years after these enterchanges of love passages, Astratius of a sudden,..waved her company.
1821   W. Scott Kenilworth xvi, in Waverley Novels (1831) XXII. 300   There had been some love passages betwixt him and Mistress Amy Robsart.
1845   C. M. Kirkland Western Clearings 106   No one..had ever been able to ascertain whether there had actually been any ‘love-passages’ between them or not.
1865   E. B. Tylor Res. Early Hist. Mankind iii. 43   Love-passages of the gods and heroes.
1890   San Antonio (Texas) Daily Light 9 Sept.   This Cousin Evelyn had had a horrible love passage with Fergus McIntire.
1930   Galveston (Texas) Daily News 3 July 7/2   Fifi engages in her first love passage with the fugitive, Murray.

1661—1930(Hide quotations)


  love pat   n. a tap or gentle blow to indicate love or affection (cf. love tap n.   and love-tick n.); also in extended use.

1846   U.S. Mag. & Democratic Rev. Mar. 211/1   Many of his subjects had a feeling sense of his royal grace and condescension, in the love-pats with which he honored them.
1876   C. D. Warner Winter on Nile i. 24   Garibaldi received one of his wounds, a sort of love-pat of fame.
1931   E. A. Wetherald Lyrics & Sonnets 244   A little love-pat.
1999   in A. Garrod et al. Souls looking Back xvi. 273   I couldn't bring myself to return her touch. We never talked about what her ‘love pats’ were about.

1846—1999(Hide quotations)


  love-pennant   n. rare (perhaps) a pennant with which a departing ship is decorated.

1889   A. Conan Doyle Micah Clarke xxxiv. 377   You are like the same ship when the battle and the storm have..torn the love-pennants from her peak.

1889—1889(Hide quotations)


  love philtre   n. = philtre n.; a love potion.

1665   J. Crowne Pandion & Amphigenia 2   A lip-sick Lover, who with quaint Rhetorications can paint his Mistress face..and think her tears love philters.
1834   E. Bulwer-Lytton Last Days of Pompeii I. i. ii. 17   The very air seems to have taken a love philtre, so handsome does every face without a beard seem in my eyes.
1921   E. L. White Andivius Hedulio i. v. 74   She had a local reputation for magical powers in the way of spells..love philtres, fortune-telling..and good advice on all subjects.
1995   Nichols Garden Nursery 50/1 (advt.)    Cupids [sic] Dart... Violet, daisy-like flowers with dark centers. The name refers to the Greek custom of using the plant in love philters.

1665—1995(Hide quotations)


  love pill   n.  (a) a dose of a love potion, typically in tablet form (cf. philtre n.); (now also) any of various pills intended to improve libido, sexual performance, or sexual satisfaction;  (b) slang (with the) the hallucinogenic drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as Ecstasy.

a1645   W. Strode Floating Island (1655) iv. xiii. sig. E3/2   Sir Amorous buyes a Love-pill.
1859   Humbug vi. 45   Were an enterprising Yankee permitted to advertise ‘Love Pills’..in one year he would amass a fortune.
1931   Lima (Ohio) News 24 Mar. 5/3   Balanescu was convicted of the sensational ‘love pill killing’ of Dorothy Kirk... The state alleged he fed the girl strange ‘love potions’ in a series of weird medical experiments until she died.
1968   T. Leary Politics of Ecstasy v. 100   Mind-altering chemicals... The scientist has to take the love pill.
1998   Mirror (Nexis) 21 July (Features section) 22   Our man..gives his verdict on the revolutionary love pill. My girlfriend Claire and I have a satisfying love life—but I couldn't turn down the chance to road-test Viagra.
2006   Daily Tel. (Sydney) (Nexis) 19 Aug. 5 (heading)    Once..the drug of choice at rave parties and city nightclubs but now the love pill has come home.

a1645—2006(Hide quotations)


  love play   n.  (a) (an act or instance of) lovemaking; wooing, caressing, spec. sexual foreplay; also figurative;  (b) a romantic play; a play about or concerning love.

c1390   in F. J. Furnivall Minor Poems Vernon MS (1901) 474   Sore I seo þe buye Al my loue-plawe.
1651   J. Ellistone tr. J. Böhme Signatura Rerum xiii. 158   All things were in equal weight of all the properties in a Love-play, as it is even so now in Paradise.
a1672   P. Sterry Rise Kingdom of God (1683) 291   Thus Death becometh a Love-play between Christ, and his Spouse.
1821   Ld. Byron Marino Faliero (2nd issue) Pref. p. xx   A tragedy of the highest order, and not a puling love-play.
1849   U.S. Mag. & Democratic Rev. Dec. 523   It was during the interlude of this dramatic love-play, that the editor of the Omni-Versus..returned to New-York.
1879   Times 24 June 10/3   The love play of Perdican and Camille, which ends so sadly and so suddenly in poor little Rosette's heartbroken cry.
1944   T. Rattigan While Sun Shines ii. 226   You're both very much mistaken if either of you imagines that you're going to have twopence-worth of verbal loveplay with my fiancée on my telephone.
1963   A. Heron Towards Quaker View of Sex 55   Adult heterosexuality presents fewer problems where early love play is tolerated than where it is suppressed.
1978   D. E. Stanford Achievement Robert Bridges iii. 169   Christian Captives is primarily a love play.
1997   Resource Packet for Neo-Paganism & Witchcraft 22   Eroticism in its religious reference venerates love play and the sexual act as divine.

c1390—1997(Hide quotations)


  love potion   n. a potion supposed to be capable of exciting sexual attraction or love, esp. towards a particular person; a love philtre; = love-drink n.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1593) v. f. 242v   The drinke he had receiued, was neither..a loue potion, nor..a deadly poyson.
1647   R. Stapleton in tr. Juvenal Sixteen Satyrs 85 (margin)    Philters or love-potions.
1787   G. Gregory tr. R. Lowth Lect. Sacred Poetry Hebrews II. iii. xxxi. 344   Mandrake was of especial efficacy in love potions.
1868   Amer. Naturalist 2 186   The flower is fleshy and fragrant, and the native doctors in India use it as a sort of love-potion.
1931   R. A. Firor Folkways in T. Hardy v. 115   Legends of the mandrake and of the ‘Hand of Glory’ are closely connected with love-potions.
2004   Daily Tel. 3 Nov. 7/1   A modern love potion for women..contains herbs reputed for centuries to have aphrodisiac qualities.

a1586—2004(Hide quotations)


  love powder   n.  (a) a powder administered as a love philtre;  (b) figurative the explosive charge of love (obsolete rare).

1592   R. Greene Blacke Bookes Messenger sig. C4v   He will perswade you hee hath twentie receiptes of Loue powders.
1623   J. Webster Dutchesse of Malfy v. ii. sig. L4   Confesse to me Which of my women 'twas you hyr'd, to put Loue-powder into my drinke?
1678   S. Butler Hudibras: Third Pt. iii. i. 39   When he's with Love-powder laden, And Prim'd, and Cock'd by Miss, or Madam.
1742   J. Yarrow Love at First Sight 14   There are Things call'd Charms, Bribes, and Love-Powder.
1840   F. M. Trollope Michael Armstrong xii. 125   I don't know what love-powder you have been scattering amongst us, but there is not a single individual of the family who does not positively dote upon you.
1941   Louisiana: Guide to State (Federal Writers' Project) 99   To make a love powder, catch live humming birds, gut them without first killing them, dry the heart and powder it.
2004   L. Erdrich Four Souls (2005) ix. 110   Love powders sometimes double back and land upon their maker, which is why an expert is always required in their use.

1592—2004(Hide quotations)


  love rat   n. slang (chiefly British) a man who is sexually unfaithful or promiscuous.

1990   Sunday Mail (S. Austral.) (Nexis) 4 Feb.   In the place of glowing welcomes..were headlines baring:..‘love rat snubs his kid’.
1996   Daily Record (Glasgow) (Nexis) 19 Feb. 17   [He] was branded a love rat after rumours of an affair with his wife's best pal.
2003   C. Hopkins Starstruck 136   ‘Love rat.’ ‘That's a joke,’ I said. ‘I've only ever snogged three girls.’

1990—2003(Hide quotations)


  love ribbon   n. now historical a narrow gauze ribbon with satin stripes (cf. sense 11).

1666   in W. M. Myddelton Chirk Castle Accts. 8 Jan. (1908) I. 140   3 doz. of love 2d Rib. 6s, 6 doz of 1d love Riben 6s.
1790   L. Paradise Let. 26 Sept. in T. Jefferson Papers (1965) XVII. 520   I will Mourn..Three Months in Black Silk and love Ribbons.
1882   S. F. A. Caulfeild & B. C. Saward Dict. Needlework 330/1   Love-Ribbon..was employed to tie on Crape Hat-bands when worn at funerals, and is now occasionally worn by ladies in their caps.
1911   A. M. Earle Costume of Colonial Times 197   Among the ribbons advertised in the middle of the eighteenth century were paduasoy ribbons, love ribbons,..and..liberty ribbons.
2003   J. Flanders Victorian House (2004) x. 333   Mutes, also with staffs, which had a ‘love ribbon’ tied on each one, in black normally, or in white for a young girl.

1666—2003(Hide quotations)


  love rites   n. sexual intercourse, lovemaking.With quot. a1754   cf. right n. IV.

1600   B. Jonson Every Man out of his Humor ii. iii. sig. Gv   Offer no loue-rites, but let wiues still seeke them, For when they come vnsought, they seldome like them.  View more context for this quotation
a1754   W. Hamilton Poems & Songs (1850) 25   Averse she fled The pleasing love-rights of the marriage bed.
1857   H. Melville Confidence-man xxxix. 286   I have been deceived..in this man; he is no true friend that, in platonic love to demand love-rites?
1998   Washington Times (Nexis) 21 Apr. a4   We asked whether she would similarly denounce the love rites of homosexuals.

1600—1998(Hide quotations)


  love romance   n. now chiefly historical a fictitious narrative in which romantic love is a prominent theme; a love story (cf. romance n. 3a).

?1710   Keach's Instr. for Children (new ed.) 41   The Devil teaches them..to read Love Romances, and frequent Play-Houses.
1820   T. Hodgskin Trav. N. Germany II. xiv. 448   The daughters were obliged to spin and sew; and..dared not read love-romances.
1903   Critic (N.Y.) Oct. 379/1   The first of these novels is a somewhat unreal and exaggerated love-romance of the Civil War.
2001   V. I. Braginsky Contemp. Stud. Trad. Asian Lit. 41   The text of the religious Canon includes fragments in various genres: religious sermons..heroic epics..and love romances (the story of Yusuf and Zulaykha).

?1710—2001(Hide quotations)


love ron   n.  [ < love n.1 + ron n.] Obsolete = love roun n.

a1300   in C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 68   A Mayde cristes me bit yorne þat ich hire wurche a luue-ron.

a1300—a1300(Hide quotations)


love roun   n.  [ < love n.1 + roun n.] Obsolete a tale or song of love; cf. love ron n.

c1225  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Royal) (1981) 49   Nalde heo..nane luue runes leornin ne lustnin.

c1225—c1225(Hide quotations)


  love scene   n. an intimate scene between lovers, esp. in a story or play.

1639   P. Massinger Unnaturall Combat iii. iii. sig. G2v   I will bring you Where you..may see The love-scæne acted.
1749   J. Cleland Mem. Woman of Pleasure I. 72   To..a recital of the love-scene, I had..been spectatress of.
1818   Theatr. Inquisitor 13 183   Love-scenes..which both French and English writers..regard as absolutely essential to their drama.
1850   J. Hannay Singleton Fontenoy I. i. iii. 35   Circe resumed a love-scene between Adèle and the tender forçat.
1932   R. Campbell Taurine Provence 37   Read his [sc. Shaw's] miserable love-letters (published) and his ‘love-scene’ between Caesar and Cleopatra.
1999   T. Parsons Man & Boy (2000) xxxii. 279   Charlie wanted to fast forward over the love scenes and moments of reflection and get straight to the combat.

1639—1999(Hide quotations)


  love seal   n. rare a seal with a device appropriate to correspondence between lovers.

1877   W. Jones Finger-ring Lore 21   The impress being two human heads..the prototype of the numerous ‘love seals’ of a later period.

1877—1877(Hide quotations)


  love seat   n.  (a) a form of armchair (also, of sofa) designed for two occupants;  (b) a pair of chairs connected together at the side (and sometimes set to face in opposite directions).

1847   Charleston (Va.) Gaz. 19 Dec. 3/5 (advt.)    Sofas and love seats, and convenient occasional chairs, all in the loveliest colors.
1904   P. Macquoid Hist. Eng. Furnit. I. ix. 220   Double chairs or love-seats.
1915   F. W. Burgess Antique Furnit. 205   Such settees which closely resemble an adaptation of two single chairs, are commonly called ‘love-seats’.
1970   Canad. Antiques Collector Dec. 21/1   A Victorian love seat Mr. Daniel saw being hauled away in a garbage truck.
1973   ‘D. Halliday’ Dolly & Starry Bird x. 151   Johnson..kissed her, and then..found a love seat and dropped there beside her.
2006   Metro (Toronto) 5 Jan. 23/3   They were the first to carry three sofa sizes: the standard three-seater, the ‘mini’ sofa and the love seat.

1847—2006(Hide quotations)


love soken   n. Obsolete rare the right of a tenant to grind corn at a mill of his or her choosing (contrasted with bond soken).

1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Surueyeng ix. f. 9v   But and he [sc. the tenant] bye his corne in the market or other places, he is than at lybertie to grynde where he may be best serued, that maner of grynding is called loue Socone, and the lordes tenauntes be called bonde socon.
[1656   T. Blount Glossographia (at cited word)   There is Bond-socome,..and Love-Socome. [Also in later dictionaries.]]

1523—1523(Hide quotations)


  love-spoon   n. an ornately styled wooden spoon, sometimes with a double bowl, traditionally carved (esp. in Wales) for presentation as a love token to one's intended wife.

1891   Daily Nevada State Jrnl. 29 Oct. 1/3   The latest outbreak of the souvenir spoon mania is a ‘love spoon’. The bowl is heart shaped and of bright gold.
1918   W. R. Butterfield in Connoisseur Aug. 191/1   At first,..love-spoons did not differ greatly from the wooden spoons in ordinary use in the household.
1968   J. Arnold Shell Bk. Country Crafts 193   The Welsh carvers..produced a great deal of fine work, amongst which were the celebrated love-spoons.
1972   Country Life 20 Jan. 160/2   These [sc. stay busks] were rather in the manner of Welsh love-spoons and were made by young men for their intended marriage partners.
2005   Brit. Life Jan. 66/3   An ancient craft and a cultural symbol, the Welsh lovespoon is a token traditionally given by a young man to his beloved. Locked within each design is a special message.

1891—2005(Hide quotations)


love-sport   n. Obsolete amorous play, lovemaking.

1598   G. Chapman Blinde Begger of Alexandria sig. C3   So maddam I leaue you now from our loue sportes.
1605   G. Chapman Al Fooles i. i   Where I am cloyde, And being bound to loue sports, care not for them.
a1672   P. Sterry Disc. Freedom of Will (1675) ii. 159   They lie naturally and nakedly in the bosom of each other, according to their Divine Love-sport and play in the Palace of their Father.
1726   tr. ‘D. P. E.’ Hist. Amours Marshal de Boufflers 270   Amorous Riddles..are no small addition to the variety of Love Sports.
1857   J. A. Heraud Judgem. of Flood (rev. ed.) i. ii. iii. 59   They gambolled in the love-sport, like with like.

1598—1857(Hide quotations)


  love story   n. a story in which the main theme is the affection existing between lovers.

1594   T. Nashe Vnfortunate Traveller sig. E4   Not a litle was I delighted with this vnexpected loue story.
1624   P. Massinger Bond-man i. iii. sig. B4   They cannot..Vsher vs to our Litters, tell loue Stories.
1781   T. Warton Hist. Eng. Poetry III. xxi. 57   This was the most favorite love-story of our old poetry.
1822   J. Clare Let. 5 Nov. (1985) 250   I keep writing on with my love story & think worse & worse of it as I proceed.
1890   J. M. Barrie My Lady Nicotine xxiii. 190   The tragedy..is led up to by a pathetic love-story.
1938   E. Goudge Towers in Mist (1998) xvi. 343   That famous love story, so wrapped up in legend now that it was hard to disentangle truth from falsehood.
2002   Time 25 Feb. 62/2   Crossroads and A Walk to Remember are old-fashioned chick flicks, one a gal-bonding movie, the other a love story.

1594—2002(Hide quotations)

1592   T. Nashe Pierce Penilesse (Huntington Libr. copy) sig. F2v   Is it..fine grace in telling of a loue tale amongst Ladies, can make a man reuerenst of the multitude?
1633   J. Shirley Bird in Cage v. I 2 b   Forgetting all their legends, and Loue tales Of Venus, Cupid, and the scapes of Joue.
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost i. 452   The Love-tale Infected Sions daughters with like heat.  View more context for this quotation
1773   R. Graves Spiritual Quixote I. iii. v. 135   She has not been entertained with a single love-tale.
1802   J. Ritson Anc. Eng. Metrical Romanceës I. p. vii   The love-tales of Longus, Heliodorus, and Xenophon of Ephesus.
1933   I. Gershwin Luckiest Man in World in Compl. Lyrics (1993) 198/1   It's quite the perfect love tale; In ev'ry way we dovetail.
1998   Jrnl. (Newcastle) (Nexis) 13 Feb. 28   This bitter-sweet love tale from Hong Kong seems an unlikely mood-enhancer at first.

1592—1998(Hide quotations)


  love tap   n. a tap or gentle blow to indicate love or affection; also in extended use.

1829   Offering for 1829 82   I verily believe he would have spent half the night in mustering up the requisite courage for a gentle love-tap.
1889   ‘M. Twain’ Connecticut Yankee xxxiii. 426   When I make up my mind to hit a man, I don't plan out a love-tap.
1988   M. Cohen Living on Water 135   He made a mock fist and hit me on the chest, one of those little love-taps men give to each other.
2002   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 22 Nov. b17/2   The dramatic information is slipped into the movie with devastating panache: a love tap delivered with the force of a speeding car.

1829—2002(Hide quotations)


love-thing   n. Obsolete rare a pledge of love, betrothal.

c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) 86   For he heo heuede swiþe ilofeð [read ilofed], & luf-þing hire biheite.

c1275—c1275(Hide quotations)


love-tick   n. Obsolete = love tap n.

1493  (c1410)    Dives & Pauper (Pynson) x. viii. I iij b   Yt mischeif is noo curse but a louetyk of god.
1635   F. Quarles Emblemes iii. vi. 146   Her frownes..may chance to show An angry love-trick [read -tick] on his arme, or so.

1493—1635(Hide quotations)


  love-tight adj. rare that is proof against love.

1869   A. Maclaren Serm. preached in Manch. 2nd Ser. iv. 71   I can shut it out, sealing my heart love-tight against it.

1869—1869(Hide quotations)


love tooth   n. Obsolete rare an inclination for love.

1580   J. Lyly Euphues & his Eng. (new ed.) f. 66   I am nowe olde, yet haue I in my head a loue tooth.

1580—1580(Hide quotations)


  love triangle   n. a state of affairs in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two others (one or both of whom may not be aware of or complicit in the situation); cf. eternal triangle at triangle n. 1c.

1909   La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune 21 June 1/1   Two yellow men and the pretty 20 year old missionary girl..form the love triangle the police have uncovered.
1924   I. Gershwin Not so long Ago in Compl. Lyrics (1993) 41/1   If you want my angle on the love triangle, I'm for no front-headline stunts.
1999   S. L. Kasfir Contemp. Afr. Art iv. 116   One source of conflict for these women is the love triangle—husband, wife and girlfriend (or husband, older wife and new wife).
2004   D. Klinger Into Kill Zone v. 230   It turned out to involve three guys that were living together, with some type of love triangle.

1909—2004(Hide quotations)


love veil   n. Obsolete a veil made of thin crape or gauze material (see sense 11).

1835   Rhode-Island Republican 27 May 3/1 (advt.)    Black Love Veils! A large and splendid article for mourning, rec'd. this day at May 27.
1864   Daily Constitutionalist (Augusta, Georgia) 29 Sept. 2/5   Black Love-Veils, very fine.
1889   Harper's Mag. Oct. 696/1   I'd rip up an' press an' clean ladies' dresses, an' do over their crape an' love veils.

1835—1889(Hide quotations)


  love-wildered adj. poetic (now rare) bewildered or troubled by love; lovesick.

1789   E. Darwin Bot. Garden: Pt. II 93   The squab Fiend..Seeks some love-wilder'd Maid with sleep oppress'd.
1875   W. B. Scott Poems 39   Love-wildered, I had lost my head.
1946   ‘S. O'Sullivan’ Dublin Poems 64   Your noble silence shames my wronging thought, And all the doubts and vain imaginings wrought In the dim ways of this love-wildered brain.

1789—1946(Hide quotations)


  love work   n. now rare = lovemaking n.   (in either sense).

?a1300   Dame Sirith 375 in G. H. McKnight Middle Eng. Humorous Tales (1913) 17   Leue dame, if eni clerc Bedeþ þe þat loue-werc, Ich rede þat þou grante his bone.
1673   J. Dryden Assignation iv. iii. 46   She's most confoundedly ugly. If ever we had come to Love-work, and a Candle had been brought us, I had faln back from that face, like a Buck Rabbet in coupling.
1813   ‘T. Brown’ Intercepted Lett. 23   The Marchesa and he..Have taken much lately to whispering in doorways;..And a house such as mine is, with door-ways so small, Has no room for such cumbersome love-work at all!
1936   G. J. Nathan Theatre of Moment (1970) iii. 44   It is Juliet again who has to do the love work.

?a1300—1936(Hide quotations)

 C7. In names of plants and animals.

love-bind   n. Obsolete rare traveller's joy, Clematis vitalba (cf. sense 12a).

1847   J. O. Halliwell Dict. Archaic & Provinc. Words   Love-bind, the herb travellers'-joy.
1886   J. Britten & R. Holland Dict. Eng. Plant-names 315   Love-bind. Clematis Vitalba.

1847—1886(Hide quotations)


  love bug   n. U.S. a dark-coloured fly, Plecia nearctica (family Bibionidae), widespread across the southern U.S., which at certain times of the year forms large swarms of mating pairs; cf. March fly n. 1.

1937   Sunday Jrnl. & Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) 25 July c-d 2/1   He can put up with love-bugs, kissing-bugs and lady-bird beetles from spring until frost.
1970   Florida Entomol. 53 23   My first encounters with the ‘love-bugs’ were in south Louisiana in the mid-1930's.
2004   C. Bateman Driving Big Davie xxxi. 305   A pair of love bugs were mating on our windscreen. A few days ago I would have put the wipers on and squished them. Now I let them be.

1937—2004(Hide quotations)


  love bush   n. chiefly Caribbean any of various parasitic twining plants of the genus Cuscuta (family Convolvulaceae); cf. dodder n. 1.

1814   J. Lunan Hortus Jamaicensis I. 266   Cuscuta Americana... The negroes of Liguanea mountains call it love-bush.
1904   Newark (Ohio) Daily Advocate 6 Aug. 7/2   Oh, the wealth of blossom the love bush had once borne!
1954   Farmer's Guide (Jamaica Agric. Soc.) 582   The common Love-bushes of Jamaica comprise about four species of Cuscuta.
1986   O. P. Adisa Bake-Face & Other Guava Stories 16   Her eyes stare at the hedges of love-bush, the seeds of which Carol scattered a few months ago when asking for Richard's love.

1814—1986(Hide quotations)


  lovegrass   n. a grass of the genus Eragrostis (frequently with distinguishing word).  [The reason for the name is unclear.]

1702   J. Petiver in Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 23 1257   What is peculiar in this Love-grass is its having just under each spike, its stalk clammy.
1855   G. Emerson Farmer's & Planter's Encycl. Rural Affairs (new ed.) 737/2   Love-grass... It is a pretty species of foreign grass, growing in gardens about a foot high in any common soil.
1945   J. M. Fogg Weeds of Lawn & Garden 42   Fields solidly occupied by Purple Lovegrass are a conspicuous and attractive feature of the autumn landscape.
2000   High Country News 6 Nov. 4 (caption)    Refuge planner Bonnie Swarbrick walks through a field of healthy—but non-native—Lehmann lovegrass.

1702—2000(Hide quotations)


love-parakeet   n. Obsolete rare = lovebird n. 1a.Apparently only attested in dictionaries or glossaries.

1889   Cent. Dict.   Love-parrakeet, a love-bird.

1889—1889(Hide quotations)


love-parrot   n. Obsolete rare = lovebird n. 1a.

1852   Walks Abroad 115   The little love- parrot sits beside his mate, and feeds her.
1889   Cent. Dict.   Love-parrot, a love-bird.

1852—1889(Hide quotations)


love-shell   n. Obsolete rare the shell of any of several small cowries (genus Cypraea), used as ornaments.

1864   T. L. Phipson Utiliz. Minute Life vii. 155   Other species of Cypræa known..by the English as ‘Love-shells’, are used as ornaments, etc.

1864—1864(Hide quotations)


  love tree   n. the Judas tree, Cercis siliquastrum (family Fabaceae ( Leguminosae)).  [The reason for the name is unclear. Compare quot. 2005.]

[1760   J. Lee Introd. Bot. App. 317   Tree of Love, Cercis.]
1866   J. Lindley & T. Moore Treasury Bot. II. 697/1   Love-Tree. Cercis siliquastrum.
1889   Gettysburg (Pa.) Compiler 20 Aug. 1/8   In the Allegheny City green-house is a rare tropical plant called the ‘love-tree.’ Its fruit blends the flavor of the peach, the pine apple and other sweet fruits.
2005   Irish Times (Nexis) 27 Aug. (Mag.) 32   A species with which to catch out your know-all horticultural friends is Cercis siliquastrum... It's also called the love tree. Could it be because of its heart-shaped leaves?

1866—2005(Hide quotations)


  love vine   n. North American any of various plants of the genus Cuscuta (family Convolvulaceae); = dodder n. 1.  [On the reasons for the name compare quots. 1935, 1974.]

1833   A. Eaton Man. Bot. (ed. 6) 116   Cuscuta americana, dodder, love-vine.
1885   A. Brassey In Trades 325   The long tendrils of the love-vine rolled up into coils, which he assured us would live and grow for years, if hung on a nail indoors.
1935   Jrnl. Amer. Folklore 48 333   If you get a section of love vine and move it to another place, name it after the person about whom you want to know whether he or she is a lover of yours or not, and if the vine lives, the person does love you; if the vine dies, he or she does not.
1974   Nevada State Jrnl. 29 Sept. 39/6   I came across several plants entwined with dodder, otherwise known as love-vine. And love plants it does! It smothers them to death with its long golden strands.

1833—1974(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, June 2008; most recently modified version published online December 2022).

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