I am looking for words for a research project and possible commercial venture.

Is there one word in any other language that specifically means the protective love one feels for children that are not one’s own?

The word ‘storge’ seems to me to be close, but is more general, including love of country, and also seems to me to be more about the love for one’s own children, rather than children in general.

Example: Seeing that small, shivering child at the snowy bus stop, I felt overwhelmed by [word] and wanted so badly to bring him a warm coat.

I am new here, and appreciate help with the rules and etiquette of this site. Please let me know if this question is inappropriate or misplaced and I will revise. I apologize also if my grammar is not the best. I feel very out of my element here and I'm doing my best.

Thank you.

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage, Amy B. "Compassion" fits your example sentence even though the word you're looking for is more about love and has to be specific for children. – Centaurus Dec 24 '18 at 19:17
  • Does it need to have a specific connotation of applying to a child who is not your own by birth or adoption? (In other words, the word can't be applied to anyone in your own family? Or would it apply to a grandparent with respect to a grandchild?) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Dec 24 '18 at 19:38
  • What makes you think storge includes 'love of country'? (I think it doesn't but I'm very willing to be shown I'm wrong.) – tmgr Dec 24 '18 at 21:22
  • 5
    This reads like you want a word that's not already used in English. If so, it's both off-topic and opinion-based. – Spencer Dec 25 '18 at 21:43
  • The comments and answers provided so far clearly show that there is an ambiguity here: does the question seek a word that (1) covers only the protective feeling towards children that are not one's own (i.e. a word that does not cover similar feelings towards anybody else), or (2) a word whose meaning includes these feelings, but may include similar feelings towards others? If (2), then it is not clear why it is necessary that the word be a loan-word; if (1) then it is unlikely that the question has an answer of the kind that fits the standards of this site. – jsw29 Dec 26 '18 at 18:13

My first thought was

altruism (from Wiktionary, 2018):

Regard for others, both natural and moral without regard for oneself; devotion to the interests of others; brotherly kindness; selflessness; contrasted with egoism or selfishness

Looking at your example sentence I think it can also be

samaritanism (from Merriam-Webster, 2018):

a compassionate character or deed

Example: Seeing that small, shivering child at the snowy bus stop, I felt overwhelmed by samaritanism and wanted so badly to bring him a warm coat.

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