• amorous •
æm-ê-rês • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Filled with love, in love, expressing love—anything having to do with romantic love.
Notes: Yes, tomorrow is the day of love, St. Valentine's Day. We cannot let the occasion pass without acknowledgement. Amorous is the adjective of amour "love", the French (and British) spelling of amor also used now in the US. Amorously is its adverb and amorousness, its noun.
In Play: Today's Good Word refers to any aspect of plying the waters of romantic love: "I think all those amorous glances from Rick O'Shea are wasted on Miss Debote." It should certainly be in the vocabulary of anyone who takes St. Valentine's Day seriously: "Val Tyne always takes his wife out for an amorous evening on the town about this time of the year." (Guess what Val's middle initial is.)
Word History: Now, let's begin with the words that are NOT related to amorous. First, there is amortize (it is based on mort- "death"), and amoral (though prudes may disagree that this one is unrelated to amorous). Amorous comes from the name of the Roman god of love, Amor, a word sometimes used in English for "love" in the French spelling, as mentioned above, amour. The basic verb here is amare, the root of which comes from the imitative sounds of a baby calling it mother, ma-ma, less the initial M. Even though it is not Mothers Day, it serves us all well to remember that the touchstone of love is motherly love—etymologically speaking, that is.
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