Mapping the world's opinions

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What defines the word "love"?

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Love is pure emotion

Love is the sensation, feeling and emotions you feel when you find the right person.

Love is pain

Although we may not want to acknowledge it, love is pain. Pure, unadulterated pain. Explore

Love is an unmistakable feeling

Love is a raw feeling distinguishable from other feelings. Explore

Love is the emotional interdependence between people

Love is the deep emotional dependence that develops between two people. Explore

Love is about building a 'We'

Love is the abandonment of two 'I's and the formation of a single 'We' Explore

Love is when another soul completes your soul

When two people meet and fall in love, the two souls merge to form one, complete, shared soul. Explore

Love is a verb

Like any other verb, love is a relational action, something we engage in and act upon.

Love and eroticism

Eroticism is a fundamental part of what we consider love to be. Explore

Love is gifts and tributes

In cultures around the world, specific gifts or offerings act as important signifiers of love. Explore

Love is a choice

Love is not something passive that happens to us. We have a choice and we choose to love someone. Explore

Love is a concrete action

Love is demonstrated best through action, not just words. Explore

Love is a societal tool

Love is an artificial construct which oppresses women and reinforces the patriarchy.

Love is oppressive

Love, as it exists under current social constructs, is an oppressive tool of the patriarchy. Explore

Love is a commercial tool

Love is a concept that has been co-opted by capitalist industries to sell us things. Explore

Free love

Free love is a political movement advocating the societal acceptance of all kinds of love. Explore

Love is a coping mechanism

Love has become a societal reaction to industrialization. As more people move into cities and experience its isolating effect, the more they seek out love for companionship against loneliness. Explore

Falling in love is an appraisal of the other person's value

When we decide who is worthy of our love, we carry out an appraisal. Explore

Notions of love are Culture-specific

Many different cultures have specific ways of defining and experiencing love.

Love is counter-revolutionary

In Communist China in the 20th century, the total “renunciation of the heart” was expected. Explore

Love is magic

Magic has been a fundamental part of love in many cultures over time. Explore

Love is in silence

In some Native American cultures, an indicator of authentic love is the ability to sit in silence. Explore

Love is secondary to pragmatism

In cultures that practice polygamy or arranged marriage, pragmatism is considered the most important, with 'love' potentially following later. Explore

Love is separate from sexual desire

In some cultures, love is considered a totally separate phenomena to sexual desire, to the point that love may be marred by sex. Explore

Courtly love

An understanding of love arising from the European Middle Ages, focussing on the woo-ing of women. Explore


According to the Spanish dictionary, love is an intense feeling of the human being who, starting from his or her own insufficiency, needs and seeks the encounter and union with another being. Explore

Love is biological

Love can be reduced to chemicals and hormones, it is rooted in human evolution, our genetics and our desire to produce healthy offspring.

Love is all chemistry

Every aspect of love, from the love-at-first-site butterflies in the stomach to companionship in later life can be reduced to chemicals in the brain. Explore

Love is a product of genetics and evolution

We are genetically conditioned to love those that share our bloodline (family) and those that would make a good mate (romantic). Explore

Love is a psychological bond

Love happens on a psychological level, in which we form a deep psychological bond with another person. Explore

Love is infatuation

What we see as true love comes from the dopamine hit of infatuation. Explore

It depends on the type of love

There are many different types of love. Each one is something different.

The seven types of love

The ancient Greeks had names for the seven different types of love. Explore

Romantic love vs deep emotional attachment

There are two kinds of love. One is romantic love, which can often begin with lust. The other is a deeper emotional attachment. Explore

God is love

The bible tells us God is love. Because God is unknowable and undefinable, love must be the same. Explore

Linguistic understandings of love

What the word for love connotes to a French speaker may be totally different to a Russian speaker. Explore
This page was last edited on Thursday, 7 May 2020 at 14:30 UTC