Sexual DictionaryDictionary of the F-Word

make love:

Or: make-love-to .
ETYMOLOGY: Entered the English language towards the end of the 16 th century as a translation of the French faire l'amour or the Italian far lamore . From the 16 th century to the mid-20 th century, it meant to initiate a sexual courtship or relationship known today as chatting up , wooing, or flirting. Lawrence Paros, The Erotic Tongue (1984) : 'Couples have been making-love in the sense of paying court or wooing one another since 1580. They've been making-love as we do IT only since around 1950. That meaning wasn't even formally recognized in our dictionaries until 1976 .' From another, unknow source: ' The change occurred at roughly the same time that the phrase 'make love not war first became popular, a correspondence which may not be altogether coincidental .' (Gershon Legman launched the slogan: ' Make love , not war ' in 1963, but the change had already started in the 1950s.)

1. To woo , to pay court; to express affection for.


(1) Monte Rutledge (Ben Lyon) in Hell's Angels (1930): ' Never love a woman , just make-love-to her .'

(2) Gina (Lilli Palmer) to Alvah Jasper (Gary Cooper) in Cloak and Dagger (1946): ' Don't make-love-to me. Don't be somebody I like. If you feel like kissing me and I feel like kissing you, so we kiss . But don't be serious. In my job I kiss without feeling .'

(3) French count Leon (Melvyn Douglas) to the Soviet envoy Ninotchka (Greta Garbo) in Ninotchka (1939): ' Ninotchka! It's midnight. One half of Paris is making-love to the other-half .'

(4) Anna Kalman (Ingrid Bergman) furious at Philip Adams (Cary Grant) upon learning that he's not really married in Indiscreet (1958): ' How dare he make-love-to me and not be a married man .'

2. From the late-1950s onward, any sexual activity from petting to copulation ; to engage in amorous caressing.

3. Or: make-love-to / make-love-with , to have sexual-intercourse with. In this sense, analogous to the French faire l'amour . See copulation for synonyms.


(1) Gaston (Louis Jordan) to Gigi (Leslie Caron) in Gigi (1958): ' The only people who make love all the time are liars .'

(2) Mrs. Flax (Cher) to her daughter Charlotte (Winona Ryder) learning to drive in Mermaids (1990): ' Charlotte, you drive like old people make love .'

(3) Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) in The Professionals (1966): ' Do you realise people are the only animals who make love face to face .'

(4) Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Gavin (Danny DeVito) in The War of the Roses (1989):
-- Barbara Rose: ' Have you ever made angry love? '
-- Gavin D'Amato: ' Is there any other way? '

(5) Shyster lawyer Roland T. Flakfizer (John Torturo) flirting with the wealthy and older Mrs. Lilian Oglethorpe (Nancy Marchand) in Brain Donors (1992):
-- Roland: ' Mrs. Oglethorpe, you look wonderful. I could make-love-to you right here and now .'
-- Lilian: ' Roland, please! Let's keep this on a professional level .'
-- Roland: ' Very well then. I'll charge you fifty bucks a pop .'

(6) Harris B . Telemaker (Steve Martin) going away for the weekend with the much younger and not too bright SanDeE (Sarah Jessica Parker) in L.A. Story (1991):
-- Harris: ' SanDeE, I think it should just be a vacation , good friends. I don't think we should make love . All right? '
-- SanDeE: ' OK. We'll just have-sex .'

(7) Regina (Mimi Rogers) telling prison guard Collin Reeve (Billy Zane) about the husband she killed accidentally in Reflections in the Dark (1995): ' I loved him. God I loved him, and he loved me, desperately, completely, well, as best he could for a man who only knew how to make love-in a bed . At least he said it was love . He always said the right thing .'

(8) Annie Savoy's (Susan Sarandon) voice over monologue at the beginning of Bull Durham (1988): ' Making love is like hitting a baseball. You've just got to relax and concentrate .'

(9) Gershon Legman (1963): ' Make love , not war .'

(10) Pro birth-control slogan: ' Make love , not babies .'

See Also: ache for, acousticophilia, affaire d'amour, agape, agapism, all shaky-shivery, Amantium irae, amoris integratio est, amatorial, amatory, amatory pleasures, amor sui, Amor vincit omnia, amorous, amour fou, amour socratique, Ars Amandi, attachment, banns, bans, batty about, be crazy about, be cuckoo over, be gone on, be goofy about, be hot for, be infatuated with, be swept off one's feet, besotted, billy-doo, bird song, blind love, Bohemian love, breather, brotherly love, calf love, caritas, carry a torch, carry the torch, carrying a torch, cause of causes, cecum condom, chase the brown clown around the town, Christine Jorgensen, cockbiter, con amore, contrectophilia, cracked on, crotch rope, Cupid dances on his/her eyelids, Cupids cramp, dead nuts on, dermagraphism, dizzy over, dolled up, eternal wound, the, fall in a big way, fall in love (with), far gone on, far goner, feel that way, fence painting, fifi bag, fling, flip over for, go down on (someone), go overboard, god of love, gone case, goo-goo eyes, gooey over, goofy, grande passion, gyno shot, hand-raised, handmade, have affection for, have one's heart doing back flips, have one's heart doing flip-flips, have that funny feeling, have the miseries, have the tremors, heart-stricken, horn work, idealization, in deep, in love, in the throes of (love), infatuation, It's not the bull they're afraid of, it's the calf, jizzer, Jorgensen, latex condom, lose one's heart, love, love drink, love that dare not speak its name, the, love's fruits, love-god, loveless, lovesick, m-and-g track, make love, make love to, make out, make-out artist, making bishops, making whoopee, mal d'amour, melting moments, miseries, the, moon-eyed, moonstruck, moony about, moony for, moony over, necking, oscula me, perpetual emotion, philophobia, philter, Platonic love, poon light, pop shot, post-coital tristesse, proof shot, pulse accelerator, pulse upperer, roses and raptures, screamplay, scum dump, set one's cap for, sexed up, sexlove, Si vis amari, ama, silly about, softening of the hearters, stickspin, suck, fuck, tickle balls and rim, swept off one's feet, T.L.C., taken with, tenth word in a telegram, thanatophilia, that certain gleam in one's eyes, three-way woman, torch carrier, triangle, tropophobia, twirl, voomish, wacky about, wad sop, whoopee, zine, zoophilist

Link to this page:

Word Browser