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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Cupid /Eros /Amor

The word amorous is used to indicate an inclination towards love. It can be used to evoke either sexual love or a devotional one in a sentence.  It can also be employed as a noun, amorouse, to imply a lover but this usage is not very common.

 In terms of its etymology, amorous seems to fit easily into a very actively used word set: Amor.

Amor is another name for the god of love Eros from Greek Mythology. Also known as the cupid, variations of Amor’s name are used to describe love in many languages today. Love is Amour in French, Amore in Italian, Amor in Spanish and Amare and Amor in Latin. Therefore, it is obvious that the words amour and amorous were reflected and adopted into English language by the influence these languages (Latin/French being the most primary).

A deeper look into the structure of Amor may reveal why it is used almost the same way in extraordinary prevalence in many different languages.

Love is an emotion that is hard to describe. It is usually dominant over all other feelings and provides the lovers with extraordinary happiness and passion towards each other and life in general. Moreover, it comes with a hope and illusion of permanency and “eternity”. I believe this is the part that really defines amour, we want it to be never ending, infinite. Keeping that in mind, it is easy to see how the word is composed.

Mort is a word that didn’t go through any change since it was first used in Latin. It is included in the English language as well as any other European language that is related to Latin.

Mort refers to “death”, corpse, slaughter.

However, this strong word can be changed right into an opposite meaning by addition of a simple pre-fix.

A-mort, as in typical/atypical. Now the word means living, undying. Life.

           The “t” drops and death becomes life and then love. From this perspective Amor is the best way to describe such an emotion that actually makes us want to live forever. Perhaps that is why this word is accepted and still used in many languages although what it truly stands might have been long forgotten. The derivative amorous seems to deviate from such a delicate meaning by emphasizing on the more worldly side of love. However sexuality is the ultimate attempt for continuity of life and thus should not be excluded from a definition of love that is based on immortality, permanence and life. Hence, I believe this approach covers most of what the words amour and amorous try to convey.

          Several sources propose that The Roman Empire was built and named after this simple but strong idea of immortality. The following connection is sometimes suggested as an alternative story to the naming of the city besides the Legend of Romulus and Remus.

Rome is spelled Roma in Italian.

         It is said that a group of people wanted to build a city that will last forever. Thus they took the word Amor, reversed its letters and called their city Roma and themselves Romans. The Roma still exists and The Roman Empire was one of the mightiest civilizations if not the most.

All you need is love!

"Amorous". Oxford English Dictionary. 11/18/2012

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