Six Words for Love

I have always held the belief that there are different kinds of love in the world, and that it why it is okay for anyone to celebrate Valentines Day, despite being in a relationship or not. The Greeks have six different words for six different kinds of love, a perfect example of the complexity of human emotion, and the difficulty of defining the emotion called love.



The ancient Greeks would have been shocked by our crudeness in using a single word both to whisper “l love you” over a candlelit meal and to casually sign an email “lots of love.”

  • EROS(sexual passion) – [N]amed after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. [E]ros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you.
  • PHILIA(deep friendship) – It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.
  • LUDUS(playful or silly love) – [T]he affection between children or young lovers.
  • AGAPE(selfless love for the world) – This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers.
  • PRAGMA(deep understanding or mature love) – [T]he deep understanding that developed between long-married couples.

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