Middle English Dictionary Entry

lǒve n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) Love (either the emotion itself or the manifestation of it in action or conduct); friendship, friendly behavior; (b) actual ~, a specific feeling or expression of love; brenninge ~, hot ~, fervent love; god ~, good love, pure love; gret ~, muchel (mikel) ~, great love; habitual ~, a customary or habitual tendency to be loving; hertes ~, heartfelt love; lives ~, love of (eternal or spiritual) life; loves fir, the fire of love; moral ~, love as a moral virtue; soth (sothfast) ~, true love, loyal love; (c) love as one of the three Christian virtues; also, soth ~; (d) love as used by mystical writers [often hard to pin down]: love [cp. 1a. (a)], love as a means of attaining union with God, ?the result of the soul's union with Christ; ~ bond; prike of ~, the 14th-century Stimulus Amoris attributed to St. Bonaventura; (e) the love which binds the universe together in harmony; (f) with inf.: a desire (to do sth.), a fondness (for doing sth.).
In phrases, etc.: (a) eien ~, love of eyes, love of visible things; ertheli ~, ertheli thinges ~, worldes ~, worldli ~, ~ in erthe, ~ of this world, ~ of ertheli thinges, worldly love, love of worldly things; fleshes ~, fleshli ~, love of physical things, love of physical pleasures; ?also, sexual love; hed (meste) loves, chiefloves; ivel ~, sinful love; kinde ~, natural love, love of kin or friends; kindeli ~, love between husband and wife, ?sexual love; propre ~, love of self; (b) for ~ ne (for) eie, for ~ ne aue, for love nor fear, on no account; for ~ and eie, out of love and fear; for ~ or eie, for love or fear, regardless of anything; mid (with) eie and mid (with) ~, by fear and by love; for ~ or mede, for love or money; for drede neither for ~, for fear nor for love; etc.; (c) ~ of frendshipe, ~ of frendes, frendes ~, love between friends; unfrendli ~, unfriendly love, enmity; (d) after genitive or before of- phr.: (someone's) love; (e) before or after genitive, or before of- phr.: the love (of sb. or sth.), love (for sb. or sth.); godes ~, ~ godes, ~ of god, love for God, etc.; (f) for ~, with genitive or of- phr.: for love (of sb. or sth.), because of love (for sb. or sth.); for his ~, for love of him; for ~ of lif, for love of life, because he wanted to live; for profites ~, for love of gain; for godes ~, for the ~ of god; etc.; (g) for ~, with gen. or of- phr.: for (someone's) sake, on account of (sb. or sth.); for mi ~, for my sake, on my account; for the ~ of sir galahad, on account of Sir Galahad, i.e., for hatred of Sir G.; (h) for ~, in entreaties and exhortations: for the love of (sb.), for (someone's) sake; for mi ~, for the ~ of me, for love of me, if you love me; for godes ~, for (the) ~ of god, for cristes ~, for the lordes ~, for marie(s ~, etc.
(a) The virtue of love personified; (b) a loved one, a friend; -- also coll.; also as adj. [quot.: Gener.(2)].
(a) A covenant of peace; a peaceful settlement; in ~ ne in laue, in laue ne ~, neither by amicable settlement nor by legal action [cp. OE lufe oþþe lage = amicitie uel lage]; (b) permission [cp. OI lof]; ~ and leve, permission and leave; ayenes the ~ of, without the permission of, against the will of; ayenes his ~ and his leve, without his leave or permission.
(a) Love of man and woman, sexual love, conjugal love; (b) god of ~, Cupid; goddesse of ~, Venus; remedie of ~, Ovid's Remedia Amoris; brenninge ~, hot ~, ardent love; derne ~, clandestine love; foul ~, lascivious love; ~ treu, verrai ~, true love; leik of ~, ?the game of courtly love; plei of ~, sexual intercourse; after loves lore, concerning love; (c) in definitions of love; (d) the condition of loving and/or being loved; (e) after genitive: (someone's) love; (f) after genitive or before of- phr.: the love (of sb.), love (for sb.); (g) for ~, with gen. or of- phr.: for love (of sb. or sth.), because of love (for sb.); for his ~, for love of him; for mi ~, for love of me, if you love me, etc.
(a) Love personified, Cupid; loves daunce, being in love, a love affair; loves folk, lovers; loves servaunt, a lover; (b) a lover, sweetheart, mistress, wife; derne ~, a secret mistress; herte ~ [see herte 2a. (c)]; (c) fig. Christ as the bridegroom of a devout female Christian.
(a) Animal love; time of ~, the mating season; ben in ~, to be aroused by the mating season, be in heat; (b) a dove's mate; (c) love among the Sodomites.
(a) Theol. The Holy Ghost; soth (sothfast) ~; (b) God, Christ.
In cpds. & combs.: (a) ~ amour, sexual love; ~ arwe, Cupid's arrow; fig. arrow of spiritual love; ~ aue, awe inspired by love [cp. ~ drede]; ~ bedripe, a manorial service consisting of an extra day of reaping [orig. performed as a favor to the lord of the manor; cp. bedripe & love-dai]; ~ bende, a chain or bond of love; ~ bok, the 'Song of Songs', 'Song of Solomon'; ~ bond = ~ bende; also, swaddling band; ~ brother, ?illegitimate brother, ?beloved brother; ~ clippinge, loving embrace(s; ~ corde, a cord of love; ~ cos, a loving kiss; ~ crok, a love crook, a pruning hook wielded by love; (b) ~ daunce, a dance for lovers; ~ daunger, the power of love; ~ dede, an act of love or friendship; ~ drede, fear inspired by love; ~ drem, joy of love; ~ drinke, a love potion; also fig.; ~ druerie, courtship, flirtation, courtly love; also, a message of love [quot.: KAlex.]; ~ drunken, intoxication with love; ~ eie = ~ drede [quot.: Ancr.]; ~ eie, the eye of a lover [quot.: Destr.Troy]; ~ ere, a friendly ear; ~ flod, a flood of love; ~ fother, a carting service for the lord of the manor [orig. performed as a favor]; ~ frainer, a seeker after love; (c) ~ game, sexual intercourse; ~ ginne, ?a stratagem of love; ~ girdel, a girdle of chastity; also fig.; ~ glem, a ray of love; ~ gretinge, a lover's greeting; -- used fig.; herte ~ [see herte 2a. (c)]; ~ kissinge, affectionate kisses; ~ knotte, a kind of intertwined device; also fig.; ~ lai, a love poem; ~ las, the cord of love, love's tyranny; also, a girdle given for love [quot.: Gawain]; ~ laughinge, friendly laughter; ~ leik, amorous play, love-making; ~ lettre, a love letter; -- used fig. [see also treu ~]; ~ leve, love's permission; ~ likende, loving, spiritually desirous; ~ likinge, loving desire, spiritual yearning [?jocularly used for ~ longinge by Chaucer]; ~ line, a cord of love; ~ lokinge, loving looks, passionate glances; (d) ~ longinge, yearning for love, lovesickness; also, spiritual love or desire; also, the person loved [1st quot.]; also, as adj.: ~ longinge desir, intense desire or affection; (e) ~ lote, a loving look; ~ loue, the fire of love; ~ mad, driven mad by love; ~ makinge, causing intercourse, bringing love about; ~ morninge, mourning for a loved one; also, lovesickness [quot.: Amis]; ~ neb, beloved countenance; ~ paramoures, lovers; ~ pleie, pleasure of love; ~ rapt, carried away or entranced by love; ~ ron, ~ roune, a love song; ~ saue, ?a love song, ?a speech of love; ~ sheuinge, a showing or token of love; ~ sik, lovesick; ~ song, a love song; ~ sor, the pain of love; ~ sparke, a spark of love; ~ speche, amorous or lascivious talk; ~ sprenges, sprinklings of love; ~ talkinge, ?pleasing conversation, ?courtly love talk; ~ tecche, a lovable habit; also, a mark or sign of love; (f) ~ teres, tears of love; ~ thing, a pledge of love, betrothal; ~ thought, a thought of love; ~ tithinge, news of love affairs; ~ token, a sign of love; ~ trist, loving trust; ~ weddinge, conjugal love; ~ welle, spring or source of love; ~ werk, sexual intercourse; ~ wordes, words of love; ~ worth, ~ worthi (~ unworthi), worthy of love, lovable (unworthy of love); ~ wound, a wound inflicted by love, a heartthrob; ~ yerninge = ~ likinge.
(a) In surnames [including several which can be derived from loven v. (1)]; (b) in place names [see Smith PNElem. 2.27].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500 ?Scrope Ribot First Monks (Lamb 192)25/30 : Whedyrnotȝ of the love [L a zelo] the whiche was in hym to God?
Note: Ed.: "love here translates 'zelus'."
Note: Cf. DMLBS zelus 'jealousy' also, 'ardent fervour, zeal'.
Note: ?New sense.