In Italian, "to love someone" has two translations:

  • amare qualcuno, meaning "to desire a romantic relationship with someone";
  • voler bene a qualcuno, meaning "to care for someone" (literally: "to wish for someone's good") - for example, "to love a friend" is translated as "voler bene a un amico".

I don't know of any word in English which is as strong as "to love", yet cannot be misunderstood for interest in a romantic relationship. Is there such a phrase?

So far, the best I came up with is "to care for someone", but it doesn't express the same strength, so to speak, as "to love [a friend]".

  • Yes, "to care" is the best I could find for such context and what I usually use when I think that voglio bene a qualcuno.
    – Nemo
    Dec 28, 2016 at 17:19
  • In a completely informal slang sense, you may use the word "frove". Yes, it's not a real word yet, that's why I'm leaving this in a comment. I frove you!
    – ADTC
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:13

5 Answers 5


I'm going to go with "no". We live in ambiguity of the many meanings of "love" in English, or if we need to be specific we resort to similes or explanations: "I love you like a [sister/friend/parent]".


We don't have a special word for this. When we need to distinguish it, we say something like like: I love you, but I'm not in love with you.

In love refers to strong, romantic affection.


I think Americans use the conjunction 'but' to distinguish brotherly sentiment from romantic love or employ slang: 'Love ya bro'


To love someone as a friend can be considered as platonic love.

  • Please elaborate on your answer, with perhaps examples of usage and corroboration.
    – Bread
    Mar 24, 2018 at 6:13

In American English, if we love someone as a friend, we usually say that we like that person.

  • I like Gladys because she is a faithful and kindhearted friend.

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