The word love (in its noun form) has a history you have to love. Dating back to the Proto-Indo-European word leubh, meaning "care" or "desire", it later evolved into Latin with the word lubet, which went on further to become libet. Libet is also the father of the word libido, which is connected to love almost as closely as its roots. After the Romans died out (a recurring theme in these posts, for some reason) the word spread not to French this time, but Germanic. Here it steadily evolved into four forms, each taking the place of the antecedent: lubo, liube, liebe, and then lob, all of which had the modern meaning, except liube, which went through a phrase where it was referred to as "joy". This eventually phased into Old English as lufu, and it got mangled around until it became love. Many phrases were derived from love, since it was such a powerful and important word in everyday life, including lovebird, lovesick, loveseat, and making love (which originally meant naught but the innocent act of courtship, until it became a euphemism and it suddenly turned inappropriate). Today, etymology enthusiasts can be a little surprised that throughout the history of words they love, love changed little. But then again, love loves to love love.
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd