Most people would agree that spring is for lovers, so is any other time for that matter, because people can fall in love any time, any place and anywhere (to quote the famous Martini advert), and it can happen under the most peculiar of circumstances. I first spoke to my husband when I was waiting for him to finish with the ironing board. My daughter met her future husband in a shared college kitchen where she was astonished to see him defrosting frozen mashed potato. She even wrote home about it. It took three years before they got together. My in-laws met on top of a bus, so must have made arrangements to meet again very quickly, and my parents met in the pouring rain outside a cinema. My father proposed half an hour later and mom only took a few weeks to say ‘yes’.
We fall in love in English. That seems to imply that we have no control, that we can’t help it? Is it possible to avoid falling in love with someone if we really try? . Do other languages have the same concept I wonder?
2000 years ago in Greece they had three different words for the one we have in English. One referred to sexual love, one to friendship and one for simple “like”.
We do of course have lots of other words – we can be fond of someone, we can care for someone, we can be attracted to someone, and we can be devoted to someone – or something – not just a person . ‘I love gardening – or trains, or sailing or whatever. The word “love” can refer to lust , but it can also be used to describe a longing for something; a yearning.
What do you call the person you love? Your lover of course, but that implies a sexual relationship and you wouldn’t use it to introduce him or her to someone. You can call someone your boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, or sweetheart. ‘The other half’ was once a popular, tongue in cheek, way of describing a spouse or lover, but it seems to have fallen out of fashion, and “She who must be obeyed” was made popular by a TV series in the UK.
When you are alone together, you might call each other ‘darling’, ‘dear’, ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’, and lots of people have pet names for each other, they might be your angel, schnookums, cutie pie, or your snuggle bunny. My brother-in –law calls his wife Blodwyn, which means ‘blessed flowers’ when he wants to be especially endearing – he is Welsh.
Love doesn’t always mean a permanent relationship. How do you describe a love affair? Is it just a relationship? Well, you can have a relationship with your mother. And what about the word affair? An “affair” is usually only used when at least one partner is married to someone else. An intrigue or a fling would be another way of describing such a relationship, along with an ‘affair of the heart’, which is a rather old fashioned phrase, sometimes used in historical romance novels. It usually refers to an inappropriate relationship, perhaps between a lady of high birth and someone rather further down the social scale. A rather disapproving way of talking about one person in such a relationship is to describe them as “his / her bit on the side” or more kindly “the other man / woman”.
The person you love might be described as lovely, pretty, beautiful. But how about bewitching, enchanting, or charming? These last three have a sort of magical connotation. And if you are in love you might be described as besotted, or consumed, which brings us back to the idea that we have no control, it’s not our fault. Perhaps this lack of control explains some of the rather odd pairs one comes across. After all why should that nice gentlemen have married such a crosspatch, or that pretty young girl fallen for the ugly hulk of a man walking alongside her?
And what happens if the relationship isn’t working out. How do you feel? – broken-hearted, love sick, betrayed, jilted, spurned, pining, moping or ill starred like Romeo and Juliet? And if you love someone who doesn’t share your feelings of affection, we call that unrequited love.
So what words or phrases do you know associated with love?
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 70.5
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 7.7
Gunning-Fog Score 9.9
Coleman-Liau Index 9.4
SMOG Index 6.8
Automated Readability Index 7.5
Average Grade Level 8.3
Word Count 729
Sentence Count 42
Characters per Word 4.3
Syllables per Word 1.4
Words per Sentence 17.4