The Many Words for Love in Greek

The Many Words for Love in Greek
meme1By Jamie

Happy Valentines Day!

Did you know there are many Greek words for love and each has a different meaning?

Love is such a complex feeling; I like the idea of multiple terms for this feeling, as it seems more reasonable than using one general word.

So, here are the terms for love and love styles in Greek! Let me know which term you identify with most. (Although, most humans feel and live out every type of love listed).

Agape – “Love of the Soul”

Agape is an altruistic love. It is considered the purest and most ideal type of love. It is an unconditional love without self-benefit.

Eros – “Love of the Body”

Eros is a passionate love. This kind of love reveals an appreciation for beauty and sensuality. The term “erotica” is derived from Eros.

Philia – “Love of the Mind”

Philia is a virtuous love. Someone who is loyal to friends, family, and community is living out philia. This sort of practical love has mutual benefit to giver and receiver.

Storge – “Love of the Child”

Storge is considered one of the most natural types of love. It is the type of love that parents feel for their offspring.

Xenia – “Love of the Stranger”

Xenia is thought of as true hospitality. This sort of love is looked upon as ritualized friendship which was extremely important in Ancient Greek culture.

Other Types of Greek Love Styles:
  • Mania

Mania is a love which one would experience in great highs and lows. Mania or manic may not be considered authentic love, but rather an unhealthy veering off from true affection.

  • Ludus

The Ancient Greeks referred to ludus as a playful kind of love. This kind of love is what many describe in the early part of a relationship (teasing and flirting). Ludus is also explained as the type of love children commonly experience. We experience ludus when we are out dancing, out to dinner with friends, or in any other type of social situation that includes warm discussion and laughter.

  • Pragma

Pragma is considered a longstanding love. It is considered a deep understanding developed between lovers who have been together for many years. Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm referred to this kind of love as “standing in love” (rather than falling in love). This is a deep commitment based on compromise and tolerance.


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2 comments

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  1. Shaina Kumar 14 February, 2014, 11:17

    Lol. When I read the title I thought it said “geek” so I was really confused at first, as I skimmed the article.

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  2. Jan-Willem Dijkshoorn 4 March, 2014, 03:24

    There’s one problem I have with this list: why can’t I find the word for ‘ludus’ in Greek? That’s a Latin word, and if the Greeks acknowledged this as a specific kind of love, how did they call it? Paidia maybe?

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