Fall In Love With 14 Captivating Valentine’s Day Words

2 champagne glasses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates, pink filter

Love is a many splendored thing. That must be why there are so many ways to talk about it. Thanks to love songs, poetry, music, movies, and art, the language of love seems to be constantly expanding, and what better time to brush up on the myriad ways to express your love and affection than on Valentine’s Day? You might be working on a few love letters of your own or just curious about the origins of some of the most commonly used phrases in romance. Whether you have a deep love for words or you’re just looking for the right words to say “I love you,” here are 14 terms to know and use this Valentine’s Day.


A cupid is kind of like the official mascot of Valentine’s Day. When capitalized, Cupid refers to the ancient Roman god of love. When written in lowercase letters, cupid refers to representations of Cupid, like the commonly recognized image of a small boy with wings and a bow and arrow. The name Cupid comes from the Latin Cupīdō, an equivalent to cupere, which means “to long for, desire.”


People sometimes mistake the term star-crossed to mean that people are destined to be together. While this word does have something to do with fate, it actually means “thwarted or opposed by the stars; ill-fated.” Think: Romeo and Juliet. They’re the ultimate example of star-crossed lovers, which makes sense, since the first use of the term is credited to William Shakespeare in his play about the pair.


Has someone special caught your eye this Valentine’s Day? If so, you might be an admirer. An admirer is “a person who regards someone or something with wonder, pleasure, or approval.” This admiration may be shared out in the open or someone might be a secret admirer. First recorded in the 1580s, admirer comes from the Latin admīrārī, meaning “to wonder at.”


Smitten is most often used to mean “deeply in love”; however, it can also be used to indicate infatuation, especially as the result of being extremely fond of or impressed by something. Interestingly, smitten is the past participle of the verb smite, which means “to strike.” The implication is that someone who is smitten is struck by or strongly taken with their feelings. The first records of smitten in English come from the 1200s.


If you find love this Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s not the unrequited kind. Unrequited means “not returned or reciprocated.” It’s a form of requite, a word first used in English in the 1500s that means “to give or do in return.” The concept of unrequited love is well represented throughout literature, music, and art. The term has stuck around, even though requite hasn’t retained the same level of popularity.


Woo is not just something you scream when you’re riding on a rollercoaster. It’s also a verb that means “to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.” On Valentine’s Day, you might offer some chocolates to woo the object of your desire. The origins of woo are uncertain, but it was first recorded in English as early as 1050. It’s safe to say this is one word that has earned English speakers’ affection.

Learn the charming words you can use to describe your beloved.


The term lovebirds generally refers to “a pair of lovers, especially a married couple who show very close mutual love and concern.” Lovebirds are two of a kind. They go together. But we know what you’re really wondering: are there actual birds called lovebirds? The answer is yes! The term lovebird is also a nickname for an affectionate breed of small parrots. The word has been in use in English since at least the 1580s.


For those in serious relationships, Valentine’s Day might be the perfect time to become betrothed. Betrothed means “engaged to be married.” It’s a form of betroth, a word from the late 1200s that means “to arrange for the marriage of.” Historically, couples may have become betrothed due to an agreement by their families, but the use of the word has evolved as societal ideas about love and marriage have evolved. Betrothed is a combination of be and the Middle English troth or trouthe, which means “faithfulness, fidelity, or loyalty.”


If you’re looking for a special word to describe the depth of your feelings, look no further than enamored. Enamored most commonly means “in love,” but it can also be used to mean “charmed or captivated.” First recorded between 1350 and 1400, enamored comes from the Middle English word enamouren, likely derived from the Old French enamourer. Amour, the root word, means “love affair.”


Courtship is kind of a fancy, old-fashioned word for dating. It means “the wooing of one person by another.” Alternatively, it can also describe “the period during which such wooing takes place.” The word was first recorded in the 1590s and used to describe the period during which a man would spend time with a woman in the hopes of winning her consent to marry. These days, we take things a little slower. The early part of any dating relationship could be considered a courtship.

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On Valentine’s Day, people typically ask someone to be their valentine, but what does that actually mean? A valentine is a sweetheart chosen or greeted on Valentine’s Day. Valentine and Valentine’s Day both get their names from the feast day of Saint Valentine, though there are at least two saints with this name. The modern usage of valentine was first recorded in English in the 1400s.


The next word may get your pulse racing. A crush is “an intense but usually short-lived infatuation with someone.” Alternatively, it’s also what we call the object of that infatuation, as in, They are my crush. The word crush has been in use in English since at least the 1300s, but the romantic sense of the word wasn’t recorded until the late 1800s.


Although sweetheart sounds like the name of a candy, it’s actually a term of endearment that means “a beloved person.” In some places, it’s common to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a “sweetheart dance” for couples, or you might see other events, like sweetheart brunches, dinner deals, or movie nights. Sweetheart sounds modern, but it has actually been in use in English since the mid-1200s.


​​A great Valentine’s Day gift is one that leaves you swooning. Swoon means ”to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy.” It comes from the Middle English verb swonen, meaning “to faint.” Indeed, to swoon can mean “to faint or lose consciousness,” but in the romantic sense, it typically describes a strong emotional response rooted in infatuation. For example, The fan swooned when Harry Styles smiled at her from the stage.

Sweet talk your way through the quiz

Keep your heart fluttering by visiting the Enamored Or Smitten? Here’s A List For You Word List, which offers flashcards and other features to help you learn. When you’re ready, you can dive into the wordie box of chocolates by taking our quiz based on these words.

Expand your love knowledge with these 8 Greek words for types of love.

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