Is the English word "love" the most abused one in the English Language?

Is "love" the most abused word in the English language?

I ask because in the same breath I can say, "I LOVE this can of soda!" and, "I LOVE God!"

It seems like we need something else. Something else to describe how much we care for something...especially when it comes to our spouses and God.

I ask because I'm doing a sermon on this in two weeks...and I like how the Hebrews have many words that describe "love". Especially the "love" that is built on a marriage. THIS love ("Raya", "A'hava", and "Dode") are all built successfully off each other. With "Dode" being the sexual/pleasureable portion that comes WITH marriage ("A'hava" is the love between a husband and wife, and "Raya" is the love between friends).

Maybe I'm rambling here...but I think we abuse our "love" for things. I think the word needs to be broken up into other words.

We can assume our "love" is different...but wouldn't a seperate word be clearer?


Hope this helps!

Good luck, and may God conti

28 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I have to agree. It would make sense to have different words for different kinds of love.

    We have some things that are close. For instance Kin is a word that denotes people you love in a certain way. Matrimony denotes marriage and spousal love. Passion works well enough for sexual love. (Sex is a good word for sexual love to.)

    We need one for physical objects to...

    Adore is a good word for the Christian God.

    My Gods are summed up in "Eldest Kin.", but that doesn't work well for Christians.


    Source(s): ~Asatru.
  • 1 decade ago

    Since we're doing words, I'm not sure "abused" is exactly right.

    Because "love" has so many meanings and usages it's open to misinterpretation and confusion on the part of the receiver as well as, yes, mis-use, by the writer or speaker.

    C. S. Lewis wrote on "The Four Loves", working from the different Greek terms that could all be rendered "love" in English.

    But it's a bit unrealistic to hope that most people will follow your precision in Hebrew or his in Greek.

    It may be the term that suffers most from being ill-defined in English, but others have the same problem:

    God, faith, good, evil...

    Nice broad terms that people can pour their own content into,

    and then be surprised when people don't appear to hear what they've said (since the hearer or reader has applied their own content to the term.)

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes one word, that applies to many meanings, can get confusing. Some social scientists suggest that because we see the world through language, that if we don't have a word for something we can't perceive it. ( sapir/wharf hypothesis). One challenge you may be addressing, is related to the fact that because the common use / meanings for 'love' tend for focus on emotions and objects, they may not experience or perceive the deeper values of Love. So to be able to feel the direct love of God for example, is much different than having a person hear the 'word' love told to them in reference to God. To feel Love for a person, like a spouse, is quite different than hearing a robotic expected response of 'I love you'. So in essence, one could say that because language develops as a product of social experience in the culture, the problem of lack of deeper 'love' in this world, shows up it the common meanings/language being used. IN communication theory it is said meanings are in people, not words, so your real concern seems to be the 'meanings people have for love now', not the limitation soley of the world love. Someone wise once said, the thought of an apple is not an apple, the thought of God is not God...... your sermon should be interesting, best wishes.

  • I agree with you and your points. When I first read your question I thought no, God is the most abused word in the English language. Because His name should not be used in vain, and it is. People say God! all the time and they are using it as some expression. It's sad.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You're right.

    The Hebrews and the Greeks had superior languages when it came to expressing love.


    Eros= sensual and sexual love

    Phileo= friendship love, "brotherly" love.

    Agape= Unconditional love.

    The problem is that people cheapen the word love. Someone will say "I *love* chocolate", or "I *love* rollercoasters." Love is substituted for the word like. It cheapens it. Even worse than love is the word awesome. I won't even get into that.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago



    These were basic concepts that I learned as a child. I'm sure you are familiar with them. (If not, look them up.)

    As for "I love a soda!", this is an example of exaggeration. It is a strong indication of affinty for an object. We have plenty of words that we could use, but 'love' is easier to say than 'strong affinity'.

    As an example of cultural differences, we might say,"It's snowing" to an Eskimo. The Eskimo has a great many words for 'snow'. They have a different word for wet snow with big flakes than thier word for small, powdery flakes. They might find our term for 'snow' to be a very general term. But, for someone in Florida that never sees snow, the concept doesn't need to be so precise.

    In much the same way, our useage of 'love' is defined by our cultural experiance. We understand that if a friend says,'I love my dog.', he doesn't mean romantic love. We understand that when a nine-year old says that he 'loves' a girl in his class, he actually has a crush on her. By picking up on clues in syntax and combining them with the circumstances, we use the word love to mean many different things.

    As a clinical, logical person, I would say that your 'love' for God is actually the manifestation of your insecurity with death. You 'love' him because he offers you eternal life. Suppose that the Bible stated that there was no heaven, and that death was final. Furthermore, suppose the Bible said that God's plan for you was all important and that he loved you. Nothing has changed, except for your eternal reward. Would you still 'love' God? Or, are you in it for eternal life? It's something to think about.

  • 1 decade ago

    Who knows what's in your heart God or other people.

    Who are you living for God or society. Is the love for this life the same as the love we have for our creator? Of course not.

    If I say I love cinnamon and someone hears me will I worry about what they think if they think that I say love to much and say I love God too.

    Only worry about what God knows about you cause that is what will count.

    So what if it sounds strange or you think that it is abusing the english language I could name a million things that are getting abused that are more important than what other people think.

    Maybe you should preach in your sermon about how this life is temporary and how we should all live our lives for God alone and do not set partners with him.


  • 1 decade ago

    Yes and no.

    The word love means all those things.

    Yes it would be better for us to have a specific word for each kind of feeling. I have always known of the three Latin words. Philus, Agape, and Eros but they aren't really addequate. Well Eros isn't, because it mixes lust and love together.

    Charity is another good word. And it is an emotion an insufficient amount of people feel.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't know if I would call 'love' the most 'abused' word. It has many meanings, as a lot of words do, but that doesn't mean it's abused.

    As far as abused words go, I think I would nominate the word 'evil,' as it's almost exclusively used to incite irrational, blind hatred and fear in people. It's a word that doesn't really mean anything except "you should hate and fear what follows," yet it's surprisingly effective in getting people paranoid and violent.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is the most abused word in the English language. It is so common to use it in everyday occurrences that have nothing to do with "actual love" that it is disturbing. I would rather just forget that the word never existed. It means nothing now anyways.

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