Different Ways to Express Love in Greek

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The human emotion of “love” is more complex than the English word would suggest. The truth is that there are different types of “love” that exist depending on the situation. We could love multiple people in our lives, but we could love each of them in different ways. There is the love we feel for our close family members, like our parents and siblings. We also have a special kind of love that we feel for our friends. There is also a love that we feel for a romantic partner. In English, it is also both a noun and a verb.

In the Greek language, there is more than one word for love, and each expresses a different type of love Here’s more information about this:

Understanding the Different Types of Love

The word love means a variety of different things in English. Understanding what these meanings are will eventually help you understand the meanings behind the different Greek words for the emotion. Here is the definition for the word love in the English language according to Webster’s Dictionary:

Noun:

  • strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  • attraction based on sexual desire affection and tenderness felt by lovers
  •  affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests

Verb

  • to hold dear cherish
  • to feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness for

How to Express Love in the Greek Language

As mentioned above, there are different words for different types of love in the Greek language. Here’s an overview:

Σε αγαπώ (Σ’ αγαπώ) – Se Agapo, S’Agapo – I Love You

This phrase is used typically in the same way as we use it in English. This is the phrase that means, I Love You. Typically, it is reserved for telling someone you love them in a romantic sense, but it could also have other uses.

ἀγάπη – Agapi – Unconditional Love

In a pure sense, the word ἀγάπη refers to unconditional love. This can apply to anyone that you love unconditionally no matter what their relationship is to you. This is the word that is used in the Bible to express God’s love for us.

ἔρως – Eros – Romantic Love

This is the word that is used to express love that has romantic leanings. It is also used to explain the more sexual aspects of love. It could also be used to express attraction to another.

φιλία – Filia – Friendship Love (“Brotherly” Love)

The city, Philadelphia, was named after this word. It is known as the City of Brotherly Love. This is the word you would use to express the love you have for your friends.

στοργή – Storgi – Parental Love

This word isn’t as commonly used, but when it is, it indicates the type of love and affection that parents have for their children.

As with learning anything in Greek, it is important to understand this concept but you also don’t need to spend a lot of time memorizing. It is enough to know that there are multiple ways to express love in the Greek language. Just read this list a few times and trust that your experience in the language will help solidify these words and concepts.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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