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YARNLADY's avatar

How many different definitions are there for the word love?

Asked by YARNLADY (42128points) May 6th, 2010

Wouldn’t it be better to use the actual words that available to us to describe what we mean? See http://thesaurus.com/browse/love
There are dozens of other words that mean specifically what is intended, why limit to the one word?

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13 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

And that’s only English.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t necessarily see it as “limiting” it to only one word. When you look and the synonyms and definitions for love, to me, saying “love” encompasses all of those things instead of limiting it to only one of those. If I wanted to specifically say one of those things I would. So I think it all depends on the context of the situation.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Even as the word “love” is used to describe the intense, passionate, life-long feelings shared by long-term committed partners, there are probably an nearly infinite number of meanings for which not only words are inadequate, but a life-time of efforts to convey the feeling aloud may not capture the precise meaning. I suspect language is ultimately doomed as a means of explaining how we feel when we say we love our life partner.
That does not stop me from trying to express how I feel.

bob_'s avatar

Let’s list them. There’s “love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

Vunessuh's avatar

Well, I think a lot of people look at the word love as a combination of all of those other words such as affection, admiration, devotion, friendship, etc. etc. All of those words are condensed into one four letter word that people throw around often. I love this. I love that. I love you and so on.
Personally, I don’t have very many people in my life that I say ”I love you” to very often. I got the parents and a few friends and that’s about it. Because of this, when I get the urge to say it, I will and the people who hear it or read it know I mean it because I don’t throw it around so much to the point where it starts to sound robotic and meaningless.
I also can’t deprive people of hearing it if that’s how I feel. So, sometimes upon meeting people and then building closer friendships with these people I may take a risk of sounding a little crazy and just come right out and say it somewhere down the line. I’ve yet to have someone not appreciate it or think I was weird though and I’ve yet to not appreciate it from someone else.
I agree that using other words and describing why we love someone is a great idea. If not for the simple fact that it’s nice for the other person to hear, but also because the word love is so general and sometimes it’s really worth being more specific. To be honest, I sometimes question the sincerity of people who throw that word around way too often. For those people, I’d say that using the other words available (adore, admire) or expressing one’s feelings a bit more specifically is a great idea.

I have no idea if this is the type of answer you’re looking for, but upon reading your question, that’s just what came to mind. :) GQ.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Vunessuh Yes, thank you. I am looking for the type of discussion you have provided.

Love; “I love my dog.” “I love my children” “I love ice cream” I love roses” “I love to travel” “I love you” ; how can these all be the same word?

Vunessuh's avatar

@YARNLADY I see what you’re saying. Why would we use love to describe how we feel about our children to then using it to describe how we love something as insignificant (compared to human beings) as a cloud formation in the sky? Ah! This one is really making me think. I don’t really know why the word love is so incredibly universal. I guess that’s not such a bad thing though. I know that even people who have a huge vocabulary will still always use love more than using any other variation of the word. The same thing applies to hate. Using these two words are just really easy ways of getting straight to the point about how we feel about something. They are the easiest ways to express our feelings. That’s the only thing I can think of.

hearkat's avatar

I define Love as the source emotion for most of those other things. I have observed that most emotions can be boiled-down to one of two motivating forces: Love or Fear. For example, empathy is motivated by Love – being concerned for the well-being of others. Possesive jealousy is motivated by Fear – fear of being alone.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Love is universal, its meaning both simple and complex, yet always understood to some extent. This makes it convenient, if difficult to precisely define, because of its many connotations – yet each definition retains a common thread. Other words seem imprecise, even when they are, by definition, more accurate, because they often fail to capture the depth and, all too often, mercurial nature, of our feeling. Though, admittedly, sometimes we’re just lazy.

I’ve always appreciated the definition of love I was given in Japanese, koi and ai. Both mean love, but koi is wanting in nature and is inspired, where ai is giving and comes from within.

Strauss's avatar

There are many other languages that have several (or many) words that can be translated as “love” in English.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The only word used more for describing nearly anything is the word “awesome.”

mattbrowne's avatar

At least 253,972. Oh, where to start?

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne I don’t doubt it for a moment

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