For "crush" in meaning:

2 informal a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable

  • What word would replace the terribly technical developing a crush?

  • Does one only get infatuated or is there a less generic word than get to signify developing infatuation?

The particular sentence for which I need this is

"Do you sometimes fall in love with a character from a book?”

I'm feeling "love" is too strong here. Crush or infatuation would both be better, but while you fall in love, what do you do with these two?

3 Answers 3


Alternatives to "get" include, for example, "become infatuated", but I have to say if OP thinks "develop a crush" sounds too "technical", the options are probably somewhat limited.

Personally, I think infatuation sounds a bit extreme for how you might relate to fictional characters. I'd probably ask something like...

"Do you sometime experience feelings of romantic attachment to a character in a book?"

  • While I agree in most cases this may sound a little extreme, you really don't want me to show you some more hopeless cases. (for risk of concussion-inducing facepalm...)
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 0:49
  • @SF.: Perhaps you need to provide more context! Seriously, I'm having trouble imagining a context in which you'd specifically want to distinguish between asking whether someone is infatuated, or simply experiencing feelings of romantic attachment to a fictional character. I suppose you could ask if they are "obsessed", but who knows how the other person would classify their (manifestly pathological, imho) feelings? They might deny being obsessed because they think they're only infatuated (or vice-versa). With my version, they'd have to at least admit to something. Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 1:14
  • Heh, :) Perhaps it's my poor grasp of English that makes me believe given word has connotations it does not. :) Anyway, thanks.
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 17:55
  • @SF.: There may be a cultural difference too. Certainly when Brits need to ask what is effectively a highly personal question, we tend to "downplay" the extent of anything "abnormal", and often we use more formal words. For example, "Do you experience discomfort when you pass water?", not "Does it feel like molten lead when you piss?" is how you'd "carefully" ask someone if they have a urinary tract infection! :) Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 18:03

"Get a crush"

"Get infatuated"

"Crush on" (a newer idiom used like "I'm crushing on you!")

"Fall for"

  • 1
    Members of the generation experiencing first crushes indeed use "crushing on". Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 21:46

I checked on Google books, and these seemed to be by far the most common ways of expressing it with the word crush:

  • Have a crush on / has a crush on / had a crush on
  • Get a crush on / got a crush on
  • Develop / developed a crush on

All three of those were somewhat easy to find among the many pages of hits, but I didn't manage to find any other way the words crush on were used. (I checked through at least 10 pages of the results, but all that talk about crushes started to bring up too many memories of junior high school, so I abandoned the search.)

Another term you can use for this is puppy love.

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