February 05, 2013
THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, there are some very specific words in the English language that are used more than any others around this time of year. Here's a roundup of the top 10 words used when speaking the language of love.
(swēt-härt) n. darling; one who is loved.
The Greeks and Egyptians believed the heart was the center of the emotions. English speakers borrowed the idea, and sweet + heart has been a term of endearment — particularly for romantic love — since the Middle Ages.
(sa-kə-rən) adj. overly sentimental; mawkish; unpleasantly sweet.
The word saccharine comes from saccharum, Latin for "sugar," and dates back to the 1600s. The calorie-free sweetener saccharin (without an "e") arrived a couple hundred years later.
(ən-ri-kwī-təd) adj. not reciprocated or returned in kind.
To requite is to give or do something in return for something that another person has given or done. So, "unrequited love" suggests an imbalance: too much love paid out and too little paid back.
(ka-zə-nō-və) n. lover, especially a man who is a promiscuous and unscrupulous lover.
In the 1700s, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was a spy, a clergyman, a gambler and apparently a man of charm. His autobiographical writings about his more than 100 lovers made his name a byword for a man who loves too much.
(in-fa-chə-wət) n. foolish or extravagant love or admiration.
An infatuation, by definition, is an emotion that shouldn't be taken too seriously, and the word's etymology makes the same point. It traces back to the Latin for "foolish" or "silly."
(a-frə-dē-zē-ak) n. something that excites; an agent that arouses or is held to arouse sexual desire.
Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love (who was infatuated with Adonis), gave the Greeks the words aphrodisia, which means heterosexual pleasure, and aphrodisiakos, a gem with aphrodisiac powers.
(ə-dä-nəs) n. a very handsome young man.
In Greek mythology, the beautiful young Adonis was beloved by both Persephone and Aphrodite, so Zeus decreed the young man should divide his time and attention between the two goddesses. He was later killed by a wild boar — an attack that may have been arranged to avenge another of Adonis' romantic intrigues.
(ə-mÜr) n. a usually illicit love affair.
In 2010, a poll of linguists rated amour — the French word for "love" — the most romantic word in the world. In English, the word gains drama and loses innocence.
(va-lən-tīn) n. a sweetheart chosen or complimented on Valentine's Day; a gift or greeting sent on this day.
Christianity has more than one martyr named Valentine, and the one, true Valentine is uncertain. Romantics favor the tale of the third-century Roman physician and priest named Valentine. Supposedly, he fell in love with his jailer's daughter, and shortly before his death, he sent a letter to her "from your Valentine."
(rō-man-tik) adj. marked by expressions of love or affection; conducive to or suitable for lovemaking. n. a person of romantic temperament or disposition.
We associate this word with sweetness and love, but it emerged from the conquering powers of the Roman Empire. The expansion of ancient Rome created various dialects of Latin called "romans." (These evolved into Italian, French, Spanish and others — the Romance languages.) These dialects were used to write popular stories involving chivalric or courtly love, and such tales became known as romances.
THE TASTE OF LOVE
Derived from the French verb fondre, which means “to melt,” the history of fondue can be traced back to Switzerland. It was originally a dish cooked by peasants and was eaten by dipping bits of stale bread into hardened or old cheese that had been melted down.
Traditionally, fondue is made with a mixture of Gruyere cheese and wine. Konrad Egli, a Swiss restaurateur, developed the idea for a meat-based fondue and introduced fondue bourguignonne at his restaurant in 1956. There, cubes of raw meat were cooked by dipping them in hot oil and then eaten on the spot.
Recipes for the popular chocolate type of fondue originated in the 1960s, and fondue parties were all the rage throughout the sixties and seventies.
To make chocolate fondue at home, simply mix chocolate chunks or chips over a double boiler with one tablespoon of butter and a small container of room-temperature heavy cream, which serve to keep the melted chocolate smooth. Serve with a variety of dipping foods, like pound cake cubes or small slices of fruit, cake or cookies.
THE HEART OF LOVE
The heart is one of the essential components of human life. It also was once believed to be the center from where love and other emotions emanated. Although mystery remains surrounding matters of the heart, much has been discovered about the physical makeup of the human organ. Here are seven facts you may have never heard about that pitter-patterer in your chest.
1.Heart attacks and heart disease are sometimes seen as illnesses that primarily affect men. However, women have more cases of heart-related illnesses than men, and heart disease kills 500,000 American women — 50,000 more women than men.
2.The heart is a fist-sized muscle that can beat an average of 100,000 times every day. In under a minute, the heart can deliver oxygen-rich blood to every cell in the body.
3.A glass of wine can be good for the heart because of the antioxidant properties contained in grapes. Alcohol also can thin the blood, enabling better flow. Just be sure to stick to one or two drinks per day.
4.Romantic endeavors in the bedroom can be as good for the heart as a brisk 15-minute walk, burning up to 200 calories.
5.Laughing is healthy for cardiovascular muscles. Chuckling causes the lining of blood vessels to relax, enabling more blood to flow through for at least 45 minutes.
6.A bigger heart isn't necessarily a sign that a person is more inclined toward love. An enlarged heart is actually a medical condition, which can lead to heart failure.
7.A woman's heart beats faster than a man's. In some cases, doctors are able to predict the gender of a fetus based on the baby's heart rate.