The 6 Greek Words For Love

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

The Ancient Greeks thought a little deeper and knew a little better.

There are many meanings in which English speakers (and more broadly) developed western societies pack into the word Love.

This can cause huge amounts of confusion, because the same word is used to describe many different feelings and indeed different stages of Love as it evolves.

The Greeks had 6 different words for 6 different kinds of Love, which ultimately culminated in the highest form of Love, which they referred to as Agape.

Here they are:

Eros is erotic love, sexual passion or desire -

It is the physical attraction between two people often experienced at the beginning of a relationship. The Greeks didn’t always view this as something positive. It was considered fiery, a potentially dangerous and irrational form of Love, that could take hold and possess you.

It was also associated with some loss of personal control whilst highlighting that a relationship based on pure lust, never lasts long and indeed, could even become destructive.

Philia is concerned with friendship or a sense of camaraderie -

A deep friendship that develops between two people over time. It’s about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them. It's about having the connection to share deep intimate feelings or emotions.

This is a far cry from accumulating a million friends or followers on social media, but rather about keeping your circle small and connecting with them on a much more personal level, then strengthening that connection over time.

Ludus is playful Love,

The kind of Love that is often experienced between children, or indeed in playful flirting or teasing. It’s a non-serious form of Love, that’s light hearted and often seen manifesting in those early ‘crush’ stages - perhaps when dancing with a stranger, or during some light hearted and playful banter when out in social settings.