Words Of Love For Valentine’s Day

by Kevin Burton

   My love of words brings us to words of love today, courtesy Merriam-Webster dictionary.

   Just in time for Valentine’s Day, words and phrases about romantic relationships. Once we get over being lovestruck and tongue-tied, here’s why we say it the way we say it:

Goo-goo Eyes

   “The term ‘goo-goo eyes’ implies a foolishly sentimental, romantic, or amorous glance (as in ‘she made goo-goo eyes at him’).

   “Its first appearance was caught in English in the late 19th century. It is believed to be an alteration of goggle, which is first seen as a verb meaning ‘to turn the eyes to one side or the other’ in the 14th century.”
   “English writer Samuel Butler, in his 17th-century narrative poem Hudibras, tersely exemplifies use of the verb in the phrase ‘wink, and goggle like an owl.’ In time, goggle begins to be used as an adjective to mean ‘protuberant’ or ‘staring’ (as in ‘the close-up focused on the actor’s enormous goggle eyes’), which brings into focus goggle-eyed in the 18th century. “The related term googly-eyed is then seen, but not until circa 1900.”
   “The plural form goggles was first sighted as a designation for a pair of protective glasses in the early 18th century.”

   “The slang term beer goggles, which refers to the effects of alcohol thought of metaphorically as a pair of goggles that alter a person’s perceptions especially by making others appear more attractive than they actually are, was brewed in the 1980s.”

Blind/Double/Hot Date

   “The English word date in its temporal sense, in spite of semantic and phonetic similarity, has nothing to do etymologically with day but is descended from Latin dare, meaning ‘to give.’

   “In ancient Rome, the date of a letter was written in this manner: “Datam Romae Kal. Aprilis.’ (Translated: I gave [this letter] at Rome April 1—the kalends of April.)

   “Data, the past participle of Latin dare, had the feminine ending in this case because of its association with the noun epistula, meaning ‘letter.’ (The common word data, referring to facts or information is related: it is from Latin datum, meaning ‘something given,’ and, in turn, datus, the past participle of dare.) 

   “Data eventually came to name the time of writing or executing a letter or document. Anglo-French borrowed the word as date with the same meaning but also used it to denote any given point in time.”

   “The word was then borrowed into Middle English from Anglo-French. It was not until the 19th century that date began to be used for an appointment or engagement at a specified time. The word then came to signify romantic meetings, as in blind datedouble date, and hot date. The extended sense of ‘a person with whom one has a romantic date or appointment’ is a 20th-century extension.

Apple of One’s Eye

   “Since the pupil is essential to vision, it was held to be something very precious. Thus, when you call someone or something the ‘apple of your eye,’ you are telling them that they are cherished.”

   “In the past, the idiom referred to the actual pupil of the eye because it was viewed as a round, solid object comparable to an apple.”

   “The phrase is connected to the Bible, in which it appears in books of the Old Testament: Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs, and Lamentations. The first use of the phrase appears in Deuteronomy, which reads ‘He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.’

   “This probably developed from the Anglo-Saxon use of the word æppel for ‘pupil’ as well as for ‘apple.’ Thus, the phrase developed into ‘apple of one’s eye’ and retained the meaning of something treasured.

Warm the Cockles of Someone’s Heart

   “A cockle is a mollusk that lives in a hinged, heart-shaped shell, similar to that of a scallop shell, which lends it the nickname ‘heart clam.’ In the 17th-century, writers began likening the human heart to the shape and valves of the mollusk, and eventually cockle came to refer to the heart itself—and, specifically, to its ventricles because the two larger of the heart’s four chambers look something like a cockle, which was noted by the ancient Romans who called the ventricles cochleae cordis (cochlea means ‘snail’ in Latin).

   “Additionally, the Latin genus name for the cockle is Cardium, which is related to the Greek word kardia, meaning ‘heart.’”

   “The heart has traditionally been regarded as the center of affection in a person, just as the spleen was once believed to be the center of anger. If something warms the cockles of a person’s heart, it stimulates that center of affection, bringing ‘heartfelt’ pleasure. A good meal, pleasant company, or anything ‘heartwarming’ could conceivably ‘warm the cockles of your heart.’

Puppy Love 

   “The term puppy love is used for those romantic feelings of love that are felt between young people and are not considered to be real love by more experienced adults. It dates to the early 19th century, but puppy-lover used in similar context has been traced to the 17th century.

   “Puppy is from French poupée, meaning ‘doll,’ and it is etymologically connected to both puppet and pupil. Initially, it referred to a lady’s lapdog; that sense was born in the 15th century. The current sense of ‘a young dog’ appears in the 16th century (the synonymous pup is a shortening of puppy). It is also in the 16th century that puppy is applied to “an inexperienced or naive young person.”

   Tomorrow, more words of love.

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