The word love is a cognate with its Germanic origin "luv," but I am wondering if English contains other words for love, such as relatives to the famous Greek "Four Loves:"

  • Philia - This one has several obvious descendants such as "hydrophilic," "philanthropy," "Philadelphia," etc.
  • Eros- sensual love-- one descendant is "erotic" ("libido" has Latinate origin").
    The next two are weirder:
  • Agape - God's love ("Charity" comes from the Latin equivalent)
  • Storge - Familial love ("Familia" comes from Latin).
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    "Eros" and "agape" are probably known to most English speakers. (In particular, some religious groups emphasize "agape" in their doctrines.) – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 3:19
  • And, of course, "amore" from Italian is familiar to most. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 3:22
  • And, of course, "romance", which is derived from "Roman" through a rather circuitous route. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 3:32
  • Looking at a synonym list, about the only other word that might really convey love (vs just friendship or infatuation) is "affection", but that word covers a continuum from mild admiration to intense passion. – Hot Licks Jan 10 '16 at 3:39

As a noun, "charity" is considered the highest form of love, particularly in Christianity. As a verb, this form of love is expressed as "to cherish": "I cherish you."

Unlike in Spanish and Portuguese, the verb "to want" does not indicate love. Well, if it does, it doesn't express the same deep abiding love that it does in those languages. Instead, it would express erotic love, desire: "I want you."

The verb "to adore" is an extremely lofty form of love, "adoration" being the noun: "I adore you."

The noun "devotion" and the verb "to devote" express a dutiful love that may not be passionate but certainly connotes a disciplined attachment to another person: "I am devoted to you," or, "I devote myself to you."

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  • The problem with charity is that it has acquired such a cynical interpretation over time. Expressions such as as cold as charity reflect this, and may explain why in modern translations of the bible the KJV version of 1 Corinthians 13, the word charity (including the essence charity never faileth) has been changed to the more straightforward- love. – WS2 Jan 10 '16 at 9:04
  • @WS2 : Whereas "charity" among Christian folk still retains its meaning within meeting houses, for it is "the pure love of Jesus Christ," it is pretty much just thought of as meaning alms for the poor outside of that subculture. What's more, "cherish" is more associated with possessions and sometimes feels very Smeagol with his Precious when applied to anything. So I agree. The word in English has migrated considerably from its roots as the number one form of love, albeit it still technically holds in title. – Benjamin Harman Jan 10 '16 at 11:18

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