10 Archaic Yet Romantic Words For Valentine’s Day

Love is as old as time, and through the years, countless people have tried to put this profound passion into words.

Some words to describe feelings of love and the object of one’s affection have survived for centuries, such as cherish and adore. Others have popped up in recent years, like bae (yup, it’s actually in the dictionary) and boo (it’s in there too, as slang for one’s boyfriend or girlfriend, possibly stemming from the French word beau—ooh la la). It’s those that have fallen out of use, however, that may provide a special hint of old-time romanticism.

As Valentine’s Day rolls near, let’s take a look at some old and even archaic words for love and relationships that just may make your professions of love a little more unique this year.

Talk about a ten-dollar word. Say it with us: puhl-kri-tood-n-uh s.  

Pulchritudinous is an adjective with Latin roots that dates back to the early 1900s. It means “physically beautiful; comely.”

Instead of telling your partner they look pretty, tell them they’re looking particularly pulchritudinous. While they may be a bit puzzled at first, they’re likely to be impressed once they knows what it means.

Eros (with a capital E) hails back to Greek mythology: he is god of love and the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. 

With a lowercase e, eros is one of the seven types of love. It means sexual love, and the word erotic comes from it. For example, you may tell your Valentine, “From the moment I met you, it's been obvious that what I feel for you is eros.”

If that feeling is mutual, you just may have one steamy Valentine’s Day date.

Today people are more likely to be acquainted with the popular band Goo Goo Dolls than this adjective that means “expressing adoration; foolishly amorous.”

You might be goo-goo for someone or look at them with goo-goo eyes, which sounds as sweet as a Goo Goo Cluster. This term is likely related to the verb goggle, which means "to stare with bulging or wide-open eyes."

Nope, calf love doesn’t mean someone who loves baby cows or is infatuated with the lower portion of the leg. Rather it’s a noun that means puppy love, which is defined as “temporary infatuation of a boy or girl for another person.”

Calf love was first recorded in the early 1800s and likely stems from something that is newly born.

The noun paramour sounds a bit fancier than lover, which is what it means. It dates back to a.d. 1250 from Middle English, originally stemming from the French term par amour, which means “by or through love.”

Note, however, that the first definition of the word is “an illicit lover, especially of a married person,” so it may not always be used in the most virtuous sense.

Sure you could call him your boyfriend, beau, or bae, but swain, which means “a male admirer or lover” certainly sounds more suave.

The word dates back before 1150 and comes from the word swein, meaning "servant." So perhaps he’s your servant of love?

If you want to whisper sweet nothings to your swain, you may want to call him a bawcock.

Don’t worry, we’re not getting into anything too racy here. This archaic word means “a fine fellow.”

First recorded in the late 1500s, it comes from the French phrase beau coq, meaning "handsome rooster."

While it sounds like a cross between a medical condition and a frozen treat you’d eat, this archaic term means “worthy of being desired.”

The adjective dates back to Middle French in the late 1400s and stems from the Latin word concupiscibilis, which means “desirable.” 

So, you might tell your flame that that they’re looking particularly concupiscible this evening, and who knows where the evening will lead you.

For something a little more illicit (hey, we’re not here to judge), the word cicisbeo may come in handy.

Brought to us by the Italians back in the 17th and 18th centuries, it means “an escort or lover of a married woman.”

If you want to give your sweetie a kiss, ask for a buss instead.

This archaic noun, which dates back to the mid-1500s, is thought to be a blend of two obsolete words that also mean kiss—bass and cuss. Next to those two, buss sounds downright romantic.

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