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Origin of Platonic
OTHER WORDS FROM PlatonicPla·ton·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti-Pla·ton·ic, adjectivean·ti-Pla·ton·i·cal·ly, adverbpost-Pla·ton·ic, adjective
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).
Platonic soulmates are a blessing
— T (@sheistaitum) September 16, 2018
Greatest platonic relationship in the history of TV. pic.twitter.com/4SqDTukCUx
— Sayyaf (@sayyaf_10) May 28, 2020
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.
Example sentences from the Web for platonic
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.The Summer’s Juiciest Beach Reads: Hillary’s New Memoir And More|Emily Shire|May 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But when pressed on the nature of their relationship—which Stiviano has characterized as platonic—Sterling clammed up.Donald Sterling’s Insane Attempt at Damage Control Fails Miserably|Nina Strochlic|May 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I remembered the usual termination of Platonic liaisons, and thought how disgusted I had been whenever I heard of one.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show|Robert W. Chambers|February 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was trickier to convincingly recreate Mark's imprint as a platonic pal downstairs.
This is Platonic, not Aristotelian, who believes in the eternity of motion as well as of time.A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy|Isaac Husik
The creation of the universe is conformed to the structure of Platonic dialectic.The Mediaeval Mind (Volume I of II)|Henry Osborn Taylor
The Platonic friendship was never again ruffled; if anything it grew more confidential and almost sentimental.The Spell of Switzerland|Nathan Haskell Dole
Blending with this notion of 'pietas,' we find the Platonic repudiation of sensuous and material life.The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. VI (of 8)|William Wordsworth
Aristotle in this has made no insignificant step towards the subjection of the Platonic dualism.A History of Philosophy in Epitome|Albert Schwegler