4

I know it's used to implore someone, for instance:

Please, Microsoft, for the love of God, fix this bug in Windows, so I can get work done on my computer!

But what "love of God" is being referred to here? Is it:

  • do this because God loves you
  • do this so that God will love you
  • do this because you love God
  • something else?
  • What did your research show about this? Note that your question is a cross-site duplicate from ELL’s ell.stackexchange.com/questions/54783/… – tchrist Oct 1 '16 at 16:01
  • Perhaps: "if you love God"? – We oath to creation Oct 1 '16 at 16:19
  • Oops, sorry! Didn't think I'd actually be able to find anything by researching it on my own - maybe next time I'll try just in case! – ekolis Oct 2 '16 at 1:18
2

"For the love of God" is definitely, as Laetitia was getting at, an expression of desperation. If you exhort someone to do a particular thing, and use this phrase, you mean

Don't do it for me. Don't do it to make money. Don't do it to protect your business or your good name. Do it for a more basic motivation, the motivation that we were all born with, namely, the love of God.

It means that the thing you're exhorting the person to do doesn't need fancy motivators, and shouldn't need much convincing. It means you are at the end of your rope (i.e. you have run out of patience).

Suppose someone has been going back and forth for a ridiculous amount of time, arguing with himself about whether to do a particular thing or not. If this goes on indefinitely, at some point you are going to blow up and tell them to just go ahead and do it, "for the love of God".

For example, "Should I ask her to the dance?" After half an hour of prevaricating, you dial her number, thrust the phone at your friend, and shout, "For the love of God, just ask her already!"

  • 1
    The question comes down to: Does 'love of God' mean the love given by God or the love given to God? Your answer, informative as it is, is not (yet) answering that. – We oath to creation Oct 1 '16 at 19:50
  • @Keepthesemind - When people use this phrase, in a context such as the one provided in the question, they are probably not consciously thinking about God. However, underlying the expression of desperation is the love given to God, in the sense of a basic appreciation of life, the way babies love god because they love life. That is my opinion, and in the interests of full disclosure, I must clarify that I myself do not believe in God, at least in the way that is generally understood. ... Thank you for clarifying the question for me. – aparente001 Oct 1 '16 at 20:01
1

It's an expression of frustration and anger.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/for+the+love+of+God

An oath of shock, exasperation, annoyance, frustration, or anger.

  • For the love of God, I didn't even see that car coming!

  • Would you let me finish my story, for the love of God?

  • Oh for the love of God, I just had the car fixed and now you've put a dent in it!

Here is an explanation of the the for the love of part:

(http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/for+the+love+of)

for the love of : For the sake of; in consideration for: did it all for the love of praise

Hence, it seems that originally it was closest to your second suggestion.

  • @Keepthesemind I added more information – Laetitia Oct 1 '16 at 16:35
  • 1
    If 'for the love of' means 'for the sake of' then I would go in the direction of the third suggestion. – We oath to creation Oct 1 '16 at 16:46

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