View synonyms for Platonic


or pla·ton·ic

[ pluh-ton-ik, pley- ]


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Plato or his doctrines:

    the Platonic philosophy of ideal forms.

  2. relating to, involving, or characterized by Platonic love as a striving toward love of spiritual or ideal beauty.
  3. Usually platonic.
    1. being, relating to, or involving the kind of love that characterizes a friendship; free of sexual desire or romantic overtones:

      Despite their close bond and emotional connection, their relationship remained purely platonic.

    2. feeling or professing love of this kind:

      He insisted that he was completely platonic in his admiration.


/ pləˈtɒnɪk /


  1. of or relating to Plato or his teachings
  2. often not capital free from physical desire

    Platonic love

“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Derived Forms

  • Plaˈtonically, adverb
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Other Words From

  • Pla·ton·i·cal·ly adverb
  • an·ti-Pla·ton·ic adjective
  • post-Pla·ton·ic adjective
  • pro-Pla·ton·ic adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of Platonic1

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin Platōnicus, from Greek Platōnikós, equivalent to Platōn-, stem of Plátōn Plato + -ikos, -ic
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Example Sentences

Reality as ConsciousnessThis view can be seen as a middle way between the Platonic and Aristotelian tradition.

Only the unworldly could still think this was, at its worst, only an unseemly platonic relationship rather than a serious bonding.

In high school, Tsukuru was one of five platonic but intimate friends who did everything together and thought as one.

She uses the celebrations of holy matrimony as a way to chronicle her own relationships, both romantic and platonic.

But when pressed on the nature of their relationship—which Stiviano has characterized as platonic—Sterling clammed up.

I remembered the usual termination of Platonic liaisons, and thought how disgusted I had been whenever I heard of one.

True, she had taken a lively interest in all her brother's curates, but it was always a professional interest and purely Platonic.

The two minds, not hearts, were at once united; but this platonic union soon led to one more tender.

The single bright ray across her life was an absolutely platonic love for her cousin Charles Grandet.

This is obviously the Platonic doctrine of two right keys, holding the mean between high and low.

The manner in which Aristides introduces his information about the Platonic Modes is highly suspicious.


Related Words

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More About Platonic

What else does platonic mean?

Platonic characterizes a close but non-sexual relationship between people. It’s especially used in reference to two people of opposite sexes who have a strong, deep friendship.

Where does platonic come from?

The concept of platonic goes back to Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino in the 15th century. He spoke of amor platonicus (“platonic love”), a kind of divine, soul-connected love. It was based on ancient Greek philosophy of Plato, who saw the love of beauty itself as a higher, more ideal form of love than of the flesh. Ficinio’s platonic love was a Christian take on Plato’s ideas.

Platonic popped up again in the 1630s in England, where there was a renewed interest in Plato’s teachings. Platonic love was viewed as a relationship devoid of sensual desires, instead grounded in the intellectual connection between two people. Over time, the idea of platonic love evolved into a friendship lacking a sexual component, especially due to social circumstances.

In its contemporary sense, platonic love involves a close friendship between two people where there doesn’t exist sexual desire. It originally referred to a relationship between a man and a woman, but has since expanded to include people of all genders. Many, however, like to argue that true platonic friendship can’t exist, as sexual attraction will always creep in between people.

In the 2000s, the term was used by the online classifieds website Craigslist in a section titled Strictly Platonic, meant for posts involving people seeking friendships. But people misused and abused it, and the section was removed in 2018 along with all the other categories found in the personals section due to sex-trafficking concerns.

Platonic friendships appear in popular culture, though fans like to point out sexual tensions or even ship them. Examples include Joey and Phoebe from the 1990s sitcom Friends, and Harry and Hermione from the young adult book and movie series, Harry Potter.

How is platonic used in real life?

Platonic is widely used to describe a type of friendship devoid of sex (e.g., We’re not dating. We just love hanging out. It’s platonic).

Common phrases include platonic relationship, platonic love, platonic friendship, platonic crush, and platonic soul mate.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.