Valentine’s day means different things to each one of us. Below are some definitions of associated words.
Definition: Marked by expressions of love or affection; conducive to or suitable for lovemaking; a person of romantic temperament or disposition (noun)
About the word: We associate this word with sweetness and love, but it emerged from the conquering powers of the Roman Empire.
The expansion of ancient Rome created various dialects of Latin called “romans.” (These evolved into Italian, French, Spanish, and others – the Romance languages.)
“Romans” were used to write popular stories involving chivalric or courtly love, and such tales became known as romances.
If we describe Rome today as a “romantic” city, we’re using a word that has travelled a long way to come home.
Definition: A sweetheart chosen or complimented on Valentine’s Day; a gift or greeting sent on this day
About the word: Christianity has more than one martyr named Valentine, and the one, true Valentine is uncertain.
Romantics favour the tale of the third-century Roman physician and priest Valentine. Supposedly, Valentine had fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter, and shortly before his death sent a letter to her “from your Valentine.”
Definition: Foolish or extravagant love or admiration
Example: “And you are infatuated, which is a very different thing from love. Infatuation is like a roller coaster ride – crazy, scary and somewhat fun, while love is something more down to earth, less exhilarating, less dramatic but more real.” – letter to Salon.com, January 6, 2011
About the word: An infatuation, by definition, is an emotion that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The word’s etymology makes the same point. It traces back to the Latin for “foolish” or “silly,” as does another insulting term: fatuous.
Definition: Not reciprocated or returned in kind
Example: “Moreover, a good solution for unrequited love is, of course, new love.” – Lucinda Rosenfeld, Slate.com, Nov 16, 2010.
About the word: Where there’s unrequited, there’s requited. So what does requite mean? To requite (a somewhat quaint term) is to give or do something in return for something that another person has given or done.
So ‘unrequited love’ suggests an imbalance: too much love paid out and too little paid back.
Definition: Darling; one who is loved
About the word: The Greeks and Egyptians believed the heart was the centre of the emotions. English speakers borrowed the idea, and sweet + heart has been a term of endearment – particularly for romantic love – since the Middle Ages.
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