For the 1960s band, see Love (band). The term is also used in tennis.

Love is a special affection for someone or something, a feeling or emotion. Various different types of love exist, which are more or less related:
  1. love between family members: parent's love of children, etc.
  2. love of friends
  3. romantic love
  4. sexual love
  5. loving one another in general
  6. loving something abstract or inanimate
  7. loving one's nation or home country (patriotism)

Some languages, such as ancient Greek, are better than the English at distinguishing between the different senses in which the word love is used. For example, ancient Greek has the words philia, eros, agape, and storge, meaning love between friends, romantic/sexual love, unconditional (possibly sacrificial, unreciprocated) love, and affection/familial love respectively. However, with Greek as with many other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words totally, and so we can find examples of agape being used with much the same meaning as eros. At the same time the ancient Greek text of the Bible has examples of the verb agapo being used with the same meaning as phileo.

Table of contents
1 Psychological views
2 Religious views
3 Quotes about love
4 See also:
5 References

Psychological views

In an attempt to explain the commonalities and differences of the many types of love, Robert Sternberg has suggested a view of love involving three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of the three elements. The combinations are as follows.

  • Liking (Friendship) - intimacy
  • Infatuation (Love at first sight) - passion
  • Empty love (Charity) - commitment
  • Romantic love - passion + intimacy
  • Companionate love - commitment + intimacy
  • Fatuous love (Whirlwind romance) - commitment + passion
  • Consummate love - commitment + passion + intimacy

As a person develops their relationship with a loved one over time, the relative strengths of the elements tends to change. Generally love will start off strong in passion but weak in the other elements. However as time passes, the other elements may grow and passion may shrink -- this depends upon the individual. So what starts as Infatuation or Empty love may well develop into one of the fuller types of love. Likewise when a person has known a loved one for a long time, passion may fade, changing love from Consummate to Companionate, or from Romantic love to Liking. Note that the feeling which Sternberg terms passion is similar to, if not the same as, that termed limerence by Dorothy Tennov. Sternberg states that a relationship based on a single element is less likely to survive than one based on two or more.

Religious views

The Unification Church defines love in philosophical terms as "the emotional force given by the Subject to the Object". The church classifies love into three types:

  1. parental love
  2. conjugal love
  3. children's love

Quotes about love

Much ado about nothing
- William Shakespeare

And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
- Professor Marvel, Wizard of Oz

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
- Eden Ahbez

Love: A term that has no meaning if defined.
- John Ralston Saul, The Doubter's Companion

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.''
- The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
- The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

See also:

Human love

Other types of love (philias)


  • Love
  • "I love you" in various languages


  • R. J. Sternberg. A triangular theory of love. 1986. Psychological Review, 93, 119-135
  • Dorothy Tennov. Love and Limerence: the Experience of Being in Love. New York: Stein and Day, 1979. ISBN 0-8128-6134-5