Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of meanings is that the love of a mother differs from the love of a spouse, which differs from the love for food. Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment.

Love is considered to be both positive and negative, with its virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—"the unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another"—and its vice representing a human moral flaw akin to vanity, selfishness, amour-propre, and egotism, potentially leading people into a type of mania, obsessiveness, or codependency. It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, oneself, or animals. In its various forms, love acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts. Love has been postulated to be a function that keeps human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.

Ancient Greek philosophers identified six forms of love: familial love (storge), friendly love or platonic love (philia), romantic love (eros), self-love (philautia), guest love (xenia), and divine or unconditional love (agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Numerous cultures have also distinguished Ren, Yuanfen, Mamihlapinatapai, Cafuné, Kama, Bhakti, Mettā, Ishq, Chesed, Amore, Charity, Saudade (and other variants or symbioses of these states), as culturally unique words, definitions, or expressions of love in regard to specified "moments" currently lacking in the English language.

The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary, and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests intimacy, passion, and commitment are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

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Fingernails: Film asks, what if a machine could find your life partner?

Love. That intangible, addictive, complicated emotion that is the essence of being human. Now just imagine if it was more straightforward. No more guesswork, no more doubt. What if? That tantalising prospect is the premise of Fingernails, the second solo film from Greek director Christos Nikou.

How a dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist

In February 2020, Harriet de Wit, a professor of psychiatry and behavioural science at the University of Chicago, was running an experiment on whether the drug MDMA increased the pleasantness of social touch in healthy volunteers.

Age gaps: The relationship taboo that won't die

Responses to the chart were mixed; some commended DiCaprio for his ability to attract younger women, while others berated the veteran actor, begging him to find someone closer to his own age.

Does 'solo polyamory' mean having it all?

As 2022 comes to a close, we're bringing back our favourite pieces of the year. See the rest of our Best of Worklife 2022 collection for more great reads. After Chris, 35, came out as bisexual three years ago, he decided that he “didn’t necessarily want to live a heteronormative life”.

Jules and Jim: The relationship that's still taboo

Francois Truffaut's romantic masterpiece Jules and Jim, which celebrated its 60th anniversary on 23 January, has long been a standard for filmmakers.

Dry dating: The rise of sober love and sex

Naomi Bridgman started ‘dry dating’ by accident. During UK lockdowns amid Covid-19, “the usual route of going to a pub… was no longer an option”, says the 30-year-old social-service worker, from Sheffield.

Why the French rarely say 'I love you'

My French husband loves me. I know he loves me because he hands me a bouquet of flowers almost every weekend. And when I tell him I was at a party full of beautiful people, he charmingly says something about "birds of a feather".

Romance (love)

Romance or romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the courtship behaviors undertaken by an individual to express those overall feelings and resultant emotions.


Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure.

The benefits of having many lovers

To mark the end of a turbulent year, we are bringing back some of our finest stories for BBC Future’s “Best of 2020” collection. Discover more of our picks here. “What does exclusivity mean to you?” asks Amy Hart, a contestant on UK reality TV show Love Island in 2019.

Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love

Bordoni's husband and Paris producer Ray Goetz convinced Porter to give Broadway another try with this show.


Amélie (also known as Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain; French pronunciation: ​[lə fabylø destɛ̃ d‿ameli pulɛ̃]; English: The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain) is a French 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

How game theory can help to give your love life a boost

How do you go about finding “the one” – or, at least, the “next one” – in today’s dating world? And once you’ve met someone interesting, how do you decide whether you should commit to a monogamous partnership… or keep your options open?

How dating app algorithms predict romantic desire

In one night, Matt Taylor finished Tinder. He ran a script on his computer that automatically swiped right on every profile that fell within his preferences. By the morning, he had swiped through 25,000 people’s profiles.

TS Eliot letter sheds light on early relationship

A newly published letter, written by TS Eliot in 1960, has shed fresh light on the writer's relationship with a woman he corresponded with for 26 years.

love intimacy relationship romance marriage