St. Valentine’s Day is the time to send roses and chocolate candies, and it is a perfect time to brush up on the vocabulary of love.
Some frequently-used English words take on unique meanings in love vocabulary.
Exclusive: a couple has agreed to date only each other. “Our relationship is exclusive.”
Puppy love: feelings between teens that are not taken seriously by adults. “The teens said they were in love, but their parents knew it was just puppy love.”
Crush: a person has secret feelings for another. “She has a crush on him, I’ll bet.”
Seeing: involved with/dating. “Bertha liked Bob, but she was already seeing someone.”
Hitched: a slang term for “married”, this was originally used in reference to a pair of horses “hitched” to a cart. “Marge and Ben don’t arm wrestle much since they got hitched.”
Unrequited: love that is not shared. “Frank loved Alice, but it was unrequited–Alice was in love with Howard.”
Online Dating: for the interactive pair who met via a christian dating website, share a great deal in common, have exchanged countless emails, but have yet taken the plunge to meet on a physical date.
Engaged: a couple who has agreed to marry are engaged; older terms are “affianced” or “betrothed”. “When George proposed to Wanda, she said yes. The engagement ring that she now wears is an emerald.”
Degrees of Love
“We are dating“, or “We are seeing each other“: this is the very loosest of relationships. This may or may not be an exclusive relationship, as the pair may be dating others at the same time, depending on their arrangement. Teens might also use “going steady“, “going out together“, or “going together“, but these are always exclusive relationships.
“Committed relationship“: one step away from marriage, the pair is devoted to each other and may or may not have plans to marry, but neither is seeing any other people.
“Engaged“: the couple intends to marry, one or both might be wearing an engagement ring, though there might not be an actual wedding date set.
Words can change meaning in different sentences, and changes can be dramatic. “He really digs her” (“he likes her”) is a far cry from “where did he dig her up?” (“Where did he find her?”) The latter is not necessarily negative, but it is not usually intended as a compliment.
“Crazy” is another fun word; a building can have crazy sides that are tilted, a person who is silly or amusing can be called crazy, and a person in love may be crazy about someone. “Peggy is crazy about Bill” is very different from “Peggy is crazy”.
When a couple wishes to restart a previously-ended relationship, they will “get back together“, but when someone wishes for revenge on a friend who has played a prank, that person wants to “get back at” the prankster.
“Fiancé” and “fiancée” are commonly confused love words that are borrowed directly from French. English speakers tend to use the two interchangeably, or to use “fiancé” for both, but “fiancé” refers specifically to a man who is engaged to be married, and “fiancée” is the female equivalent.
A figure of speech from the love vocabulary has also become muddled: “star-crossed lovers“. This phrase refers to a romantic pair, desperately in love, but doomed to be apart–a popular theme for St. Valentine’s Day. Popular culture has garbled the meaning, but the original explanation was that the stars themselves have aligned against the pair: “star-crossed“.
You’re welcome to share your favorite romantic sentiments in the comments below.