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JOHN CLELAND
RALPH GRIFFITHS
J. F. DU RADIER



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Dictionary of Love
The Dictionary of Love

In which is contained, the Explanation of most of the Terms used in that Language. (1753)
Jean François Dreux du Radier
Translated by John Cleland
Edited by Emily K. Davis
Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanties
VIRGINIA TECH

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Absence

How dear is my absence from you going to cost me? How tedious will the hours seem?

This signifies precicely, "If I was always with you, my stock of fine speeches would be soon exhausted: I should have nothing new to say to you: when I see you again, you will like me the better."

Some rhyming fools are fond of the occasion of complaining, in lamentable verse, of the tortures they suffer by absence; which is, however, only a handle of shewing their wit, at the grievous expence of truth and reason, which they martyrize in the stale, trite hyperboles of hours being months, months years, and years whole ages, in their kalendar: of their being kept alive only by the hopes of feeling what they love again. These strains are proof of the real absence of common sense.


Variant spelling:
rhyming | rhiming A Dictionary of Love (1787)


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To Abuse, encroach, misproceed

This term is often used in protestations, and generally tacked to a negative. No! I will never abuse your goodness. Or without the negation, in a more emphatic strain: I ever abuse your goodness! Heavens forbid! All this signifies, purely and simply, since you will have promises and protestations, to bring you to my ends, there they are for you.

Sometimes it is used in the following case, with great art and delicacy. Thus, when a lady grants a slight favor, as a kiss of her hand, perhaps even of her mouth, and the lover, who his never to be satisfied, proceeds on such encouragement to liberties that put decency in danger; the lady, naturally alarmed, chides the encroacher. I am too good-natured—I own, replies the sly lover, I abuse your good-nature; but, with so much love as I have, ’tis impossible to have discretion. This confession, that be abuses her goodness, carries with it such an air of candour, that it is hard not to forgive him.


Modified text:
This confession, that he abuses her goodness, carries with it such an air of candour, that she hardly knows how to condemn him.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
Thus, when a lady grants a slight favor, as a kiss of her hand, perhaps even of her mouth, and the lover, ∗who is never to be satisfied, proceeds on such encouragement to liberties that put decency in danger… (∗Girls! be sure however, that you keep such a fellow as this at a distance.)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Adorer

Is a common term in the love-cant, but begins to be somewhat obsolete, from its being hackneyed out.

Chambermaids, milliners and sempstresses are very fond of adorers: and who can resist such an humble, pathetic strain as See at your feet your poor adorer dies?


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To Adore

This sacred word is adopted into the love-language, and proves two things.

First, That the men are perfectly knowing, and acquainted with the vanity of women, who are apt to take themselves for little goddesses, or at least divine creatures.

The Second, That they are not sparing for any expressions they thing may make them lose the small share of sense their vanity may have left them.

I love: love did I say? I adore you! The true meaning of which fine speech is, “The secret of pleasing consists in flattering your self-love, at the expence of your understanding. I am straining hard to persuade you, that you have distracted my brain; not that it is so in the least; but, whilst I laugh at you in my sleeve, for your swallowing this stuff, I may gain wherewith to laugh at you in good earnest.”


Omitted text:
To Adore
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
“…but, whilst I laugh at you in my sleeve, for you swallowing this stuff, I may gain wherewith to laugh at you in good earnest.∗” (∗A truth worth remembering.)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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To Address one's self

To whom do you think you are addressing yourself?

This phrase severely pronounced, may be employed by a lady to dash, or disconcert her lover, to inspire him with respect, or check his forwardness. It is as much to say,

“Let us see whether you are a novice or not? Whether you have duly taken your degrees of assurance? or whether you are not in your horn-book of gallantry?”

You address yourself to the wrong person, I assure you.

This little affectation means at bottom, that one is not sorry to have a lover, but that it is necessary to put on an air of dignity; to remind him of one's value; to give the spurs, whilst one reins in the bridle.

However, these finesses of love-rhetoric over-awe none but the fresh-water adventurers: and that terrible expression, To whom do you think you are addressing yourself? is oftener a trap for a compliment, than a denotation of anger.


Omitted text:
To Address
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
To whom do you think you are adressing yourself? is oftener a trap for a compliment, than a denotation of anger∗. (∗ A proper hint to all prudes!)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Advances

When these are made on the woman's side, they either suppose an excessive superiority, or an excessive love.

A woman who has made advances, never remembers them without rage, unless she has reason to remember them with pleasure.


Added text:
When these are made on the woman's side, they either suppose an excessive superiority, or an excessive love. Neither very modest
A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Added text:
A woman who has made advances, never remembers them without rage, unless she has reason to remember them with pleasure. It is the man's part to make the first advance.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Adventures

Adventures in gallantry being to lose much of their relish, by the want of their former seasoning, fears and dangers. Assignations are now so easily made, that a man must know little of the world, who thinks there is any need of a masquerade to make them at. It is just as insignificant, and as much out of use, as rope-ladders or long cloaks.


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Affliction, Afflict

By these words is commonly understood the effect upon our mind of some disagreeable object. It is only in the mouth, or letters of a lover, that they have little or no meaning.


Omitted text:
Afflict
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Age

When relative to years, is a term very seldom employed in love: for to talk of age to a young person is no part of praise. It is a cruel offence to a woman anything advanced in years; and even a middle-aged woman takes no delight in those chronological discussions.

It happens indeed sometimes (but very rarely indeed) that an antient coquette will venture to pronounce the word age; but then it is only to make a particular merit of it to herself. How can you like a person of my age? This is far from meaning, “I am too old; I know it; and am persuaded I have not the charms to captivate a young man.” What she would be at is to tell you, “If I have not all the bloom of youth, neither have I its failings: mellow fruit is not so ill-tasted.” Upon which, the cue of him who has his reasons for courting her, is to answer, “At your age! madam; at your age! you are but too charming! Where, without flattery, shall one see a nobler air, a fresher complexion; and then so much fine sense!” with a thousand other impertinences in support of an evident falsity.

The cruelty of Age is, to destroy beauty, at the same time that it leaves every desire standing, of which that beauty alone could procure the satisfaction.

The word age may also be employed to oblige a lady with a critical observation on the age of her rivals in beauty. See Mrs. Fillamott, in her rose-coloured gown, or pink ribbons; can it become one of her age to lay schemes for smiting?

AGE, in the love-measure of time, applied to absence or impatience, is often employed to signify a moment: but moments are ages, to a lover with his mistress, in a very different sense, before, or after enjoyment.


Modified text:
…for to talk of age to a young person is disgust. It is cruel offence to a woman already advanced in years;
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
… with a thousand other impertiences, in support of an evident falsity∗ (∗ False indeed!)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Omitted text:

The word age may also be employed to oblige a lady with a critical observation on the age of her rivals in beauty. See Mrs. Fillamott, in her rose-coloured gown, or pink ribbons; can it become one of her age to lay schemes for smiting?

AGE, in the love-measure of time, applied to absence or impatience, is often employed to signify a moment: but moments are ages, to a lover with his mistress, in a very different sense, before, or after enjoyment.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Agitation, Emotion

Sentiments excited by the sight or conversation of a person one loves. There are amorous, anxious, pleasing, timid agitations, which have all their different expressions, by looks, sighs, blushes, &c. but few are more significant than that of the fan, masterly managed.


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Agreeable

A term often used for a modest cover of one's real sentiments, to a very ordinary woman, with too much sense not to suspect the sincerity of one, who should pretend to assure her seriously that he thought her handsome. Thus the saying, “Madam, I see no-body so agreeable as you,” means, “Since I have gone so far as to tell you that I loved you, I must look out for some reason to assign for it: Now, the quality of agreeable being one of those ideas of caprice purely arbitrary, a je-ne-sçai-quoi, that admits of no dangerous definition, it may serve till I have gathered impudence enough, or you are grown silly enough, for me to tell you you are handsome.”


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Alarms

Is one of those poetical words often employed, especially in sonnets, madrigals, odes, and the like productions of the small workers in poetry, where it chimes to charms, or arms; as strife to wife, pleasure to treasure, and other the like station'd rhimes. It seems to express the state of a heart agitated by desires and fears: but now, when one says, I feel the tenderest alarms; it only means, “You have doubtless heard it said, that love is never without anxious desire, founded upon an old-fashioned maxim, that this passion is a state of torment and disquietude, and very apt to take alarms at a shadow: you would then dislike too tranquil a lover; and since you must have find words to please you, what can be finer than these: I feel the tenderest alarms.” And no doubt the nymph must be very ill-natured if she does not employ herself instantly to calm them.


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Amiable, Lovely

Formerly denoted a person, whose beauty and merit captivated all hearts. It is now in very common use, and applied, indifferently, to all whom we take for the objects of our fancy, vanity, or fulsome, maukish flattery.


Omitted text:
…to all whom we take for the objects of our fancy, vanity, or fulsome, maukish flattery.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Amorous

A term which means one constitutionally inclined to gallantry; a character that used formerly to be expressed by a much coarser word, which is now entirely exploded; whilst the character itself subsists in its full force.


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Amusement

Love, Passion, are often terms used to cover what is no more than amusement. It is generally only used by way of confidence to intimate friends: as, I court such an one: I visit her: she is an amusement for me.


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Anxiety

Is a symptom inseparable from the love-sick.

I am under a mortal anxiety,” is a phrase, of course, with which one seeks to give a pretended passion all the colours of truth: for a real one never goes without it.

The loyal subjects to the empire of love every pay their tribute of anxiety. Sometimes it consists in the fear of not triumphing openly over a rival; sometimes in the uncertainty of gaining one's point. The Fair precaution themselves against indiscretions; they endeavor to snap a heart from their best female friend; they want to keep a train of lovers, or augment it without losing any by discontent: others are busied in preserving a reputation to which they have no right. All these aims are not without their respective anxieties for the success: and yet these anxieties are preferable with them to a dull insipid state of indifference, which composes to them a frightful void.


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Ardor, Love

Is a synonymous term to love, commonly employed to avoid tautology, or raise a climax. Your sayers of fine things are very fond of this term; which, however, is very much descended into subaltern gallantry.


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Argus

Confident to Juno, who kept Iö changed into a cow, for being one of the mistresses to Jupiter. He had an hundred eyes, and yet could not acquit himself of his charge with honour. Mercury found out the means to lay them all asleep. His name has been since given to all who are set as spies over women.

When an husband assumes that character, it is not only piquing his wife in honour to a trial of skill, but makes a sauce of the highest taste for a gallant, who might himself go to sleep over his intrigue, without such a difficulty to enliven it.

One of the gallantest poets of antiquity employs a whole elegy, to engage his mistress's husband to clap an Argus or two upon her, without which he declares to him plainly, that he will not do his drudgery for him; for that, as it was, he might as well be her husband, as to go to bed to her with so little let or impediment.

Your cautious mamma's [sic] are very often the dupes of the Argusses in petticoats, they plant round their daughters dear, and who often call the enemy that would not perhaps think of them, instead of guarding their charges from him.


Modified text:
Your cautious mamma's are very often the dupes of the Argusses in petticoats, they place over their daughters dear, and who instead of being a guard, are often a snare to the young lady
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Assiduities

Do you reckon my assiduities for nothing? Means, Have not all my trifling and dangling after you convinced you of my passion? Have not I gone through the usual course of preliminaries? Have not I handed you into the boxes? squired you to the gardens? picked up your glove when you dropped it on purpose? gallanted your fan? and, in short, played over all the monkey tricks of a led-lover?


Modified text:
picked up your glove when you dropped it on purpose? picked up your glove when you dropped it on purpose ? A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Modified text:
and, in short, played over all the little tricks of a captivated lover?
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Assignation, Rendezvous

The expert in gallantry never so much as mention these terrible words to a young adventurer of the fair sex: they are too alarming: but they generally employ some circumlocution; into which, however, they put the full value of the thing itself. But, if the fair-one consents, and keeps touch with her appointment, she is the fool; and if she returns without special reason to remember it, she has met with one.


Modified text:
…she has met with one …she has met with one
A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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Attachment

See Love

The lovers of these days, persuaded that a commerce of love with the fair is never more flourishing than when it is a free trade, look upon an attachment to one person as too hard a restriction to unload at one port, tho' a gale of desire should blow strongly towards another.

Long attachments, then, are now treated as tiresome and insipid: in short, matters are now so managed by consent of all parties, that there is no such thing as making a breach in constancy; since the whole of that old wall is entirely pulled down.


Omitted text:
Long attachments, then, are now treated as tiresome and insipid; in short, matters are now so managed by consent of all parties, that there is no such thing as making a breach in constancy; since the whole of that old wall is entirely pulled down.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Attractions

A flattering term, and of great use to advance one's affairs: for, however versed a fine lady may be in the science of the love-language, it is hard for her to conceive, that, when applied to herself, it may not signify, as formerly it did, an assemblage of charms and perfections that constitutes a beauty. Thus, when a lover whines out, No! it is impossible to resist such attractions: This phrase, duly construed, imports, “If all the soft trash I have expended upon you is not yet able to touch you, I have a reserve-lunge, which you will, with all your cunning, be hardly able to parry; and this is it:— Then, attractions, charms, inchanting beauty, are let fly in a volley, and never fail of doing wonderful execution.


Variant spelling:
inchanting enchanting A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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Barbarous

A Word of a great sound, and little meaning; used to express the discontent of a lover. How barbarous you are! signifies, “You surprize me; I did not expect such a long resistance: my pride begins to murmur at it.”


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Beau

A common word to express a medley character of coxcomb and fop; one who makes dress his principal attention, under an utter impossibility of ever succeeding; as may be demonstrated by the following plain syllogism, of which the air of pedantry may be excused for the sake of its justice:

No fool can do anything well.

None but a fool will make dress the business of his life.

A fool therefore can never dress well.

And this is so strictly true in fact, that there never was, nor probably ever will be, a beau well-drest.

This advantage can only be attained by the man of sense: far above either the weakness of making a point of his dress, or that of neglecting, or even not consulting the proprieties of it, to his age, character, fortune or station.


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Beauty

Socrates called it a short-lived tyranny; Plato, the privilege of nature; Aristotle, one of the most precious gifts of nature; Theophrastus, a mute eloquence; Diogenes, the most forcible letter of recommendation; Carneades, a queen without soldiers; Theocritus, a serpent covered with flowers; Bion, a good that does not belong to the possessor, because it is impossible to give one's self beauty, or to preserve it. After this most scientific display of quotations, all bristled with Greek names, may be added the definition of a modern author, who calls it, a bait, that as often catches the fisher as the fish. The serpent took the beauty of Eve for his text, to cajole her to perdition, and succeeded. Now, has this method of that knowing-one not descended to posterity? insomuch that one of the best baits to catch a woman, is to persuade her that you are intimately persuaded of her beauty. Such is the powerful influence of this branch of flattery, that rarely does that woman refuse the man any thing, to whom she has been weak or vain enough to listen to his praises upon this chapter. On the other side, she never forgives those, who, she has reason to think, look on her as disagreeable, or ugly. In short, with women themselves, their first merit is that of beauty; which they would lay less stress upon, if they were to consider how short a time they have to enjoy it; and how long an one to be without it.

An author, without considering how arbitrary the idea of beauty is, has given the following detail of the capital points of it; in which every one will make what alteration his own taste may suggest to him.


Modified text:
After this most scientific display of quotations, all blazoned with Greek names
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
…if they were to consider how short a time they have to enjoy it; and how long an one to be without it
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
Agentleman,without considering how arbitrary…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:


A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Billet-doux

See Love-letters


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To Blame

Though a lover seems to be an animal born for nothing but approving, he may sometimes take the liberty to blame her for her cruelty. The meaning of which is, that though his mistress may have great merit, he on his side has his share; and that she is very much in the wrong to hold out against it.


Modified text:
and that she is very much in the wrong not to remember it
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Boldness

Excuse my boldness: This, when said in the instant of snatching small favours, means, “I am sounding the channel, to see how you will take small liberties: if you excuse this, I shall have room, I hope, to proceed to greater.”

There are few women who would not sooner forgive an excess of boldness, than an excess of timidity


Added text:
There are few women who would not sooner forgive an excess of boldness∗, than an excess of timidity. (∗Let every young girl judge well, however, of the nature of that boldness which she is said to be so ready to forgive)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Bracelet

In times of yore, a lover was in heaven, if he could obtain a bracelet of his mistress's hair. An Infanta never granted her Knight this favor, till he had cleaved half a dozen giants in two, and killed as many dragons. Those times are over. At present, Love is a carpet road, in which the journey is performed much quicker, and without those dangers of broken bones.


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To Brisk an Attack

There are occasions in which this method succeeds, when fear and awe are ridiculous; as every thing is that is mis-timed or mis-placed.

Machiavel, the prince of politicians, gives the lover a cue in his lesson to them. “It is better, says he, to sin through too much vivacity, than too much timidity: Fortune is a woman, and requires a brisk attack. She grants victory oftener to rash, impetuous characters, than to the cold and circumspect. Hence it is, that this goddess, like women, (N.B. His whole comparison turns upon this principle) is more favourable to the young, because they have more fire, and daring, than those of a more advanced age.”

It is also generally kindly taken by the women, that a man should afford them the excuse of saying, “I could not help it. I was surprized.” Thus, a well-timed agreeable violence may save at once their honour and their delicacy.

The Fair will forgive the detail of these maxims, for the sake of the instruction they convey of their danger, that they may avoid the application.


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Brown

A brown, or olive beauty. A Brunette. See Fair

Though the author of the TREATISE on the Passions, says, that they dispute about the pre-eminence of the brown and fair was first broached by voluptuaries; and that it is not precisely black, or blue eyes, that form the favourable distinction: yet the connoisseurs in general decide for the Cleopatra-stile of beauty, the brown, as the most poignant in love; preferring the mildened luster of a fine evening to the glare of the meridian sun.


Omitted text:
A brunette. See Fair
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Variant spelling:
preeminence | preheminence A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Burn

An obsolete metaphor, formerly used to express the violence of one's desires. I burn for you, has now an ill grace even in poetry: and as to any meaning, it is scarce of more significance than talking to a woman of the weather, or the like.


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But

BUT if this should be known. BUT if you should be unconstant. All these Buts are nothing less than invincible objections. She has already surrendered, who makes any doubt about her surrendering.

The woman that deliberates is lost.


Added text:
∗The woman who deliberates is lost. (∗ A very important truth.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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Calm

The state of an heart without a passion. Whatever praises women may give to this tranquility, it is a thousand times more insupportable to them, than all the anxieties of love. Whenever, then, they talk in this manner, I admire the calm of a disengaged heart, this means, “Custom has absolutely forbid our sex to complain of having no lovers: it is confessing too many disagreeable things, and almost equal to owning that one has no merit. What is to be done then? dissemble.”

After having once loved, a calm is yet more odious; and indifference, at best, an isipid, uncomfortable state. To get out of it, there is nothing like spreading one's sails to a fresh breeze, though it should blow from another quarter.


Omitted text:
After having once loved, a calm is yet more odious; and indifference, at best, an isipid, uncomfortable state. To get out of it, there is nothing like spreading one's sails to a fresh breeze, though it should blow from another quarter.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Caprice, Whim, Inconstancy, Unaccountable Procedure

Fashion, taste, and women, are generally under the mis-rule of this fantastic power. Some beauties, indeed, employ it politically in love, to attach their lover the stronger, by shewing him, that if he does not employ all his attention to keep her fixed, she may give him the slip, before he is aware of a reason for it.

It is only for the young and handsome to dare to be capricious. That is forgiven to them, for which those who want those titles to play the fool, can only expect ridicule and contempt.


Omitted text:
It is only for the young and handsome to dare to be capricious. That is forgiven to them, for which those who want those titles to play the fool, can only expect ridicule and contempt.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Chains

A poetical word. My heart can never break your chains, means no more, than that, “I shall always love you.”

In the mouth of a young fellow to an old lady dowager, I cannot break my chains, the English of it is, “I am not such a fool as to break my bank.”

It is good policy sometimes in a woman to relax and extend the chains of her lover; the more she will secure her captive. He would snap too short a chain, who would never dream of breaking a sufficiently long one.


Omitted text:
In the mouth of a young fellow to an old lady dowager, I cannot break my chains, the English of it is, “I am not such a fool as to break my bank.”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Change

A lover assures that he will never change: sometimes too he even believes it: nor is change always the effect of a premeditated inconstancy. Distaste may come on one, without one's own permission. A lover who makes protestations and vows of constancy, may perhaps mean what he says; but he says what is often not in nature, and assuredly what is not in his power to keep.

I will never change, may also be understood with the mental reservation of, “I am in the disposition to pass my time agreeably, no matter at whose expence: and this disposition I find so convenient I shall hardly every change it.”

Too quick a change to fondness in a wife who has married a husband, to whom she had given signs of dislike before marriage, creates an ugly suspicion of the motive's being something she has found so much to her taste, that she may say to herself is to be found in others, besides him.


Modified text:
permission | seeking A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
I will never change, may also be understood with the mental reservation of, “I am in the disposition to pass my time agreeably, no matter at whose expence: and this disposition I find so convenient I shall hardly every change it.”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Charms

An harmonious word, rather hackneyed; indifferently lavished; and signifies no more than attractions.

The solid, substantial charms, in these times, are those in Lombard-street; or, to use Sir Tunbelly's phrase, those which are stitched to the charmer's tail, whether bags, bills, bonds, parchments, &c.


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Choice

The action of the mind, that determines it to one object sooner than to another. Admitting this definition, it follows,

1st, That in love, there is no such thing as choice, the mind not being a free agent enough; and passively receiving its impressions, without the power to reject them.

2dly, Supposing even a free-agency in the mind, it is yet liable to mistake grievously in its choice, especially when in an hurry to choose. All lovers have much the same air, equally submissive, equally complaisant, equally lavish of oaths of fidelity, and all formed upon the same model: so that the preference given to the happy man, is but too often the effect of some unaccountable fancy or circumstance. Caprice, then, and chance, choose a hundred times, at least, for once of judgment; so that choice is but seldom matter of vanity on either side.


Omitted text:
…is but too often the effect of some unaccountable fancy or circumstance.Caprice, then, and chance, choose a hundred times, at least, for once of judgment; so that choice is but seldom matter of vanity on either side.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
First That in love…
A Dictionary of Love (1787)

Modified text:
Second Supposing even …
A Dictionary of Love (1787)


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Confession

How long will you make me languish for a confession that you love me? This, to a coquette, signifies, “I have, methinks, gone through all the forms which usually bring matters to a conclusion: I have fooled away time enough about you: I being to be tired, and want to be at a point.”

To a novice, it means, “I see my happiness hangs but on a thread of modesty, ready to snap: you are reduced; and all I want of you is to tell me so, that we may lose no more time.”


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Confidence

Communication of Thoughts, and Secrets in Love.

Confidents are perhaps as necessary, in this passion, as those led-captains, the confidents, in a tragedy. Vanity, impatience of a secret, and sometimes convenience, dispose the heart to openness, and are often inevitable snares to the most wary and reserved. Confidence is often a seasoning the more to a true love-passion.

A confidante-maid, who does not abuse her mistress's confidence, is a miracle for rarity.


Added text:
Additional text: A confidante-maid, who does not abuse her mistress's confidence, is a miracle for rarity∗. (∗ An important hint to young women not to have any female confident in love affairs
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Conquest

This pompous term is made use of to express the homage of desire extorted by its object. This metaphor is very just; for no hero could be vainer of the number of provinces he could conquer, than the Fair are of that of their lovers.

The arms they employ are, beauty, natural or artificial; the artillery of the eyes; engaging looks; smiles, airs, graces, and all the powerful auxiliaries of dress. A general shall sometimes be less embarrassed in marshalling an army of twenty thousand men, than a lady in posting a patch, sticking a pin, or placing a ribbon or flower. What a preparation do they make to set their caps, and looks, before they go upon an attack! Two lady's gentlewomen, an humble female friend, and a fop privileged for his insignificance, are not, with all their untied skill, sufficient to determine the pinning of a gown, upon a grand occasion. The toilette is the council-board of war; the Mall, the side-boxes, Ranelagh, Vauxhal, &c. the field of battle : and, as, in such a momentous concern, one should neglect no means that human prudence may suggest, one goes flanked with some frightful toad-eater, in a view of shining from the contrast. But it would engage one in an endless detail, to enumerate all the stratagems and machinery they employ. Archimedes was a bungler to them. Such a subject would require an express Treatise on the art military of the ladies.

It unhappily however too often falls out, that from judging of their conquests, more by number than weight, they are dishonoured by their success, and disgraced by their list.

Sometimes their plans of conquest end in being themselves conquered.

Some are even illustrated by their defeat, who like some barbarous countries would never have been known, but for the name of the conqueror who designed to subdue them.

Others, with worse fate, submit to those cruel conquerors, who treat them like provinces reduced; and which they rather transiently ravage, than care to keep possession of them.


Omitted text:
…sticking a pin, or placing a ribbon or flower!
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
… before they go upon an attack Two lady's gentlewomen, an humble female friend, and a fop privileged for his insignificance, are not, with all their untied skill, sufficient to determine the pinning of a gown, upon a grand occasion.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…some frightfulhag, perhaps with a view of striking by the contrast
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
…they rather transiently ravage, than care to keep posession of them
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Constancy

According to the most expert judges of gallantry, is a chimæra, a phantom; sounds well in verse, and figures prettily enough in a declaration of love. But those who know any thing of the value of terms in this language, lay no great stress upon it. A mistress, who talks of constancy to a lover, intimates that she is on the point of surrender; and this a word in course of capitulation. It is then a lover may risk every thing, or rather risk nothing. Safe is the word.

Constancy too is often only another word for indolence; and a man sticks to his old mistress, to avoid the trouble and risk of changing; as some stay in the country, where they have been tired all their lives, purely out of aversion to the fatigue and embarrassment of coming to town.


Omitted text:
…lay no great stress upon it. A mistress, who talks of constancy to a lover, intimates that she is on the point of surrender; and this a word in course of capitulation. It is then a lover may risk every thing, or rather risk nothing. Safe is the word.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Constraint

Love endures none: it dies the minute it feels it. A necessity of loving, or living together as if one did, produces precisely and inevitably the contrary.

Freedom is the very life-hold of pleasure; the moment it becomes a duty, it loses its name, and becomes and oppression.


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Conversation

In love, has a more extensive signification than it seems to have; not that by conversation must be understood that time lost, in which wit evaporates in long dissertations upon esteem, delicacy, respect, and splitting of hairs upon sentiments. Even romances are purged from these conversations, that rendered them so long and so tedious. All lovers have now the same way of thinking as the princess Isenghuion, a Spanish lady, who reading the discourses of two of these romantic lovers, said, To what purpose all this stuff, when they are alone? In short, conversation now oftenest signifies, the disclosure towards the end of the last act. There is nothing more dangerous than these moments of conversation.


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Coquette

One who wants to engage the men without engaging herself; whose chief aim is to be thought agreeable, handsome, amiable; though a composition of levity and vanity.

She resembles a fire-eater, who makes a show of handling, and even chewing live coals, without receiving any damage from the fire. But, whatever may be their pretended insensibility, they have their critical moments as well as others, in which they are said to give more pleasure, as prudes do more glory, in the reduction of them.


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Countenance

A gay, smiling one, in a coquette, signifies encouragement: that she would be glad to list as many lovers as possible: that she would wish to see the men sacrifice her best friends to her; and that she keeps open a refuge for all deserters. That nothing but joy and mirth are to be found in her service; and that not to be in love with her, is to be one's own enemy, and defrauding one's self of the pleasures of gaiety and unreserve.

A cold, serious countenance, in a mistress is an admirable expedient, when artfully employed. It leads to every thing, either a reconciliation or a rupture, just as she shall see fit. After a quarrel, it signifies that she will keep up the dignity of her sex, and give herself the pleasure of hearing her lover make new protestations. If this does not succeed, she may put on a tender countenance: but in this, the occasion, the humour of her lover, or her own passion, generally determines the difference.


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Coxcomb

Is a term of such extensive comprehension, that it takes in near the whole race of mankind, from the throne to the peasant's cottage. All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption.

There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry. The gravity of an apothecary, who carries his profession printed in his face, is not less a symptom of coxcombry, than a hat and feather in a declared beau.— Mr. Addison even thought no fine gentleman could exist without a dash of the coxcomb. My Lord Rochester says, that it is a character not to be acquired but by much pains and reflection; that, in short, God never made a coxcomb worth a groat. The women in general are so fond of this character, that, however they snuff at the title, the attributes of it are the principal means of succeeding with them. An intrepid, self-assured coxcomb, who is called so to-day, passes to-morrow for a pretty fellow with them; on no better grounds than having kept inflexibility to it, and beat them at their own weapons of pride and insolence. The lady is vain; so is the coxcomb: she affects to despise him; he disdains to dangle after her. One would think these were no promising dispositions to come to a good understanding. But, let them alone, and it will happen to them, as to two persons, who, taking different ways to walk round a garden, being by turning their back to one another, and are sure to meet again in their circuit.


Omitted text:
All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption. There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Critical Minute

These minutes are not less decisive in love than in war; and in both it is of the greatest importance to seize them: once missed, they seldom return.

In the mouth of a lover, who understands the love-language, Is there no seeing you for a minute? signifies, “Am I never to obtain one of those delicious quarters of an hour in which love gets uppermost, when reason leave the field to it, and virtue takes a nap? Shall I never hear the critical minute strike?”


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Cruelty

This expression does not so much signify the insensibility of a mistress, as the impatience of a lover.


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Cruel

See Barbarous

Some of these cruel women resemble the nymphs in Ausonius, who set out with threatening Cupid to put him to death with the severest tortures, and soften their cruelty so far as only to whip him with roses.


Omitted text:
See Barbarous
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Cully

Is one who gives much, and receives at most the appearances of love in return. Their tribe is very numerous: the chief divisions of them are,

The marrying-cully, and the keeping-cully. The first is used as a cloak: the second, like an orange, squeezed of its juice, and thrown away.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Cupid

The god of love; born out of the poets brains, who paint him a child with wings, a quiver on his shoulder, a bow in one hand, a torch in the other, and a bandage over his eyes. All which emblematically signify, that he is figured like a child, because those who deliver themselves up to love, part with their reason for the silliness of that age. His bow and arrows denote his power to wound, and pierce; the bandage over his eyes, his blindness; the torch, a light he carries for others, and not himself; his wings, his inconstancy.

This allegorical personage is, however, entirely banished from prose, and is even scarce suffered in the modern Parnassus, in any such thing above a ballad to lovely Sue, at the head of which one may still see a wooden cut of his figure.


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To Cure

I hope you will cure the wounds you have made; a hackney'd phrase, and means, “You have raised desires which I expect you have too much good-nature to disappoint, and that you will restore me to the quiet you have destroyed, tho' it should be at the expence of your own.”


Variant spelling:
tho' | though A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
To Cure
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Curiosity

A desire of knowing whether one's wife or mistress is true to one. It is never a happy one. The author of Don Quixot has there inserted a novel, called, The curious impertinent, in confirmation of this assertion. He compares women in it to a glass, which no wise man will dash against the pavement to see whether it will break or not. Have you any doubts of a woman's faith, never seek to satisfy them; the least it will cost your, is the repentance of your curiosity. It is wakeing the sleeping lion: a woman may resent an unjust suspicion, and revenge it by giving it a foundation in fact. Distrust absolves faith.


Omitted text:
It is wakeing the sleeping lion: a woman may resent an unjust suspicion, and revenge it by giving it a foundation in fact. Distrust absolves faith.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Dalliance

See Toying


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Danglers

An insipid tribe of triflers, with whom the women divert themselves, in perfect innocence, when they have nothing better to do. They are in a class of being beneath their monkeys, parrots and lap-dogs.


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Death

This word is ever to be understood metaphorically, and carries no sort of terror with it. It is even so staled, that it now goes for nothing.

The death of a lover is so much in course, that it is as inevitable as in nature: for if the fair is kind, he is to die with joy; if otherwise, of grief: and both equally.

Your cruelty will make me die; signifies, “I have employ'd flames, darts, despair, &c. to persuade you: and now have nothing left by death to pin the basket.”

A living death I die.

Do you wish to see me die? may also mean figuratively, “Do you wish that the lover in should die to you? I am weary of spending so much nonsense, and advancing so little: there are other women in the world. If you do not capitulate soon, I must raise the siege.”


Omitted text:
A living death I die. Do you wish to see me die? may also mean figuratively, “Do you wish that the lover in should die to you? I am weary of spending so much nonsense, and advancing so little: there are other women in the world. If you do not capitulate soon, I must faise the siege.”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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To Deceive

You deceive me; in a lady's mouth, one would imagine, signifies, “I know you deceive me”, and only means to exact assurances to the contrary.

You say you love me, but I do not know how to trust you; I am afraid you deceive me. This is as much as to say, “I believe you but too much: but it is the custom, in such cases, to make objections: a conquest would appear too easy without them: let me have then some ardent protestations: turn my head: deceive me. I desire no better. I do not want to examine too scrupulously into the credit due to you: I wish your sincerity too much to plague myself with the doubt of it: all I want is the excuse of your vows and assurances, if but for form-sake.”

There are two powerful reasons for this interpretation.


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Declaration of Love

A word that wants little or no definition. There are several sorts of declarations, and differently made by word of mouth; by writing, in verse or in prose. But where nothing is more intended than an occasional scheme of pleasure, there is none of more efficacy, or more compendious, than a purse, a bank bill or a settlement.

It happens sometimes, that a lady not thoroughly versed in the love-language, and the value of its terms, may mistake, for a declaration, what is no more than a compliment, especially from a man she likes. Prudes, and women not so handsome as one would wish, are apt to fall into this error; and are not always extremely pleased to find it one.


Added text:
Additional text: ∗Prudes, and women not so handsome as one would wish… (∗ A mistake not at all uncommon)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Defence

There are several sorts of defences against the attacks of a lover. A cool, disdainful one is the best: a passionate one can only awe a novice; and rather emboldens an experienced engineer, who then proceeds safely upon that maxim, that so much emotion supposes heat; and that no man will ever be thoroughly well with his mistress, till he has done something to make her angry with him.

The weak defence of a fair-one who resists faintly, and coys it attractingly, is such a plain cue to a lover, that not to laugh at her resistance, would be insulting her, and deserving its conversion into a real one.

Too much depending on a future defence, has often ruinously led women into the danger of not dreading the attack. They flatter themselves with having sufficient forces to repel any bold invasion, never considering that reason is often a treacherous pilot, that deserts his charge in the midst of its danger; and that when one feels the want of a defence, it is often too late to begin it.


Added text:
Additional text: …and that when one feels the want of a defence, it is often too late to begin it∗. (∗Not more frequent than true.)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Delicacy

I love you with delicacy. There is no positive, determinate sense for this phrase: it probably signifies no more than the art of employing a word of a pretty sound that flatters the ear.

This expression is sometimes used to elude, or parry a hint of marriage. Thus, “I have too much delicacy to draw you headlong into an engagement, till things are better settled: it would be making you unhappy.” The English of this is, that the sly dealer knows very well, that gaining time is gaining every thing: that this is a plausible excuse for a delay, from which he proposes, without alarming her caution, to accomplish his ends: and this retrenchment behind his imaginary delicacy, means only that he is very willing to make her his mistress, but very loath to make her his wife.


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Desire

A wish of possessing the object beloved. A lover, without such a desire, is an imaginary being, and if even existing in nature, an insipid one.

Desires then are not only the lifehold of love, which is sure to die with them, but the very power of it. They mark out the lodging.


Omitted text:
Desires then are not only the lifehold of love, which is sure to die with them, but the very power of it. They mark out the lodging.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Despair

Driving to despair, formerly signified reducing a person to the last extremity, sending him to hang or drown himself. It has now no such terrible signification.

You drive me to despair, in the mouth of a lover, signifies simply, “things do not go on so smooth as I could wish; since I must despair of obtaining any thing to day, I must adjourn my operations to a better season; and, in the mean time, go and amuse my time elsewhere as agreeably as I may.”


Modified text:
“…and amuse my time elsewhere as agreeably as I can
A Dictionary of Love (1787)


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Difficulties

They are the zest of a passion, that would often flatten, languish, and die without them. They are like hills, and tufts of trees, interspersed in a country, that interrupt the prospect, only to make it the more agreeable.


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Discreet

To be discreet, reserved in one's actions and words, is a virtue now rarely practiced. The lovers of former times, used to complain loudly of the rigours of their mistresses, and kept a religious silence as to their favours. That system is now reversed: Vanity makes them very sure to keep the secret of their refusal, and to publish with pleasure all the favours they receive. Sooner than burst with a retention of them, they would have recourse to the invention of Midas's barber. But lovers, who know full well that a character of indiscretion is a great obstacle to their successes with the Fair, take special care to quiet any scruple upon that head

I am discreet. The true meaning of this phrase is: “It is not my game that you should have any doubts of my discretion; this is then to remove that obstruction, as far as words may do it; reserving, however, to myself the relief of giving broad hints of the favours you shall have granted me; and I will recommend such particular secrecy to some of my friends, over a bottle, that you will not have much to fear upon that head.”


Omitted text:
I am discreet. The true meaning of this phrase is: “It is not my game that you should have any doubts of my discretion; this is then to remove that obstruction, as far as words may do it; reserving, however, to myself the relief of giving broad hints of the favours you shall have granted me; and I will recommend such particular secrecy to some of my friends, over a bottle, that you will not have much to fear upon that head.”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Disdainful

A disdainful air may be supportable, and even become a beauty, on proper occasions for it: but it is terribly ridiculous when there is no call for it, or when employed as a grimace, by a woman who does not deserve the honour of a provocation to it.


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Distraction

I love you to distraction; signifies about as much as the superlative employed in concluding a letter: that is to say, nothing at all.


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Dress

A general term, which comprehends all the ornaments employed to set off one's person. There is no giving all the points of it here: that would require a dictionary apart; and then it would be like hedging the cuckoo: for the fashions are so fleeting, and the terms so changeable, that before the impression was worked off, the old ones would be of no significance. It may however be remarked, that nothing is more studied, nor less understood, in general, than dress: most of its professors, in both sexes, being liable to such grievous mistakes in it, that the very points in it they affect the most, are precisely those that the most expose their defects, and render them the most ridiculous. A high mall, a birth-day, the side-boxes, assemblies, all subscribe thousands of examples in support of this observation. The wrong-drest and the over-drest, every where offend the eye, whilst it is a miracle to see one drest with that propriety in which elegance alone consists.

The women are however grosly deceived, if they think that diamonds, jewels, embroidery, impose on any, but such as are not worth imposing on. Others easily abstract from ornaments the real figure; and, in scorn of the attempted deception, reduce it perhaps beneath the value it might bear without them.

It is also vain to seek to modernize an antient face with paint, patches, washes, and the like. They are only a vain representation, or unlucky remembrances of what ought to be there. There is no plaistering can ever cover, or obliterate, the monumental inscription of wrinkles, graved by the hard hand of time.

The glare of jewels, especially, extorts an attention to a person, rather pointed out than embellished by them, for which the eyes are not very thankful, when thus forcibly drawn to fix on a disagreeable accompaniment.


Omitted text:
The glare of jewels, especially, extorts an attention to a person, rather pointed out than embellished by them, for which the eyes are not very thankful, when thus forcibly drawn to fix on a disagreeable accompaniment.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Duty

The obligation of doing a thing, either by law, necessity, or decency. Generally speaking, duty is a clog, for which most people have more respect in profession than in practice, and conveys an idea of subjection, to which love has naturally an antipathy.

A woman that says, she will love from duty, where her inclination has not given its consent, either deceives herself or others. That pliancy of the heart is not very conceivable, and it is dangerous to trust it. It would not be hard to demonstrate the moral and physical impossibility of this fine resolution.

Me! do anything against my duty? says a fair-one: this is a shield often opposed to the attacks of a lover; but a shield rarely impenetrable to any but a novice. A woman who makes her duty a plea, is not long before she deserts it: it is a sort of capitulation. It is but too often faintly pronounced, and ill-supported, and enters into a plan of resistance, only to raise the merit of the sacrifice of it to an enterprizing lover, who is not the dupe of its sound.


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Eloquence

All the great passions are dumb, and yet most lovers are eloquent; whence it may be concluded, that eloquence is not the art of loving, but of saying moving things. A lover then who says fine things is rarely a true one. A disorder of language is one of its greatest marks. One of our poets justly shews it, in a line often quoted,

In short, lovers really struck, resemble in some sort infants, who are not capable of expressing their wants, but by signs, and inarticulate expressions.


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Empire

“You have a perfect empire over me” These expressions in love are of the nature of the false humility of those politicians, who pave their way to the sovereign power, by airs of submission and lowliness; and act the slaves, that they may become the tyrants of the people, whom they have flattered out their fears

“I expect an absolute empire over my lover”, in the mouth of the Fair, signifies, “If he would please me, he must commit the most glaring follies; sacrifice to me, honour, reason, reputation, fortune.”

The more unreasonable her caprices are, the more strongly does she exact a compliance with them, and draws her greatest vanity from her lover's shame. These modern Omphales are not an uncommon characters; especially where a kept mistress has found a cully weak enough to be ridden so.


Omitted text:
. These modern Omphales are not an uncommon characters; especially where a kept mistress has found a cully weak enough to be ridden so.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Enchantment

A term much used in the white art-magic of love. An enchanting fair-one, &c. This word, like that of charms, irresistible attractions, &c. is founded on the principle, that praise always pleases; and that, however one may at first distrust these expressions, they are soon received as obliging truths. In general, however, it is a word of much more sound than sense.


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Engagement

Was formerly a word of serious import: at present it is but little respected; since lovers have found out the commodious expedient of having a number on their hands at once.

I am engaged, often means no more than a temporary put-off, without consequence to a future accommodation. Sometimes too it is only used as a whet to give a lover the pleasure of surmounting an obstacle, or to humour his vanity with a sacrifice.


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Esteem

I esteem you. This expression in the mouth of a young person only means, that she wants a little boldness, to say in downright terms that she loves you.

In the mouth of a coquette it signifies, that she has a mind to play reserve upon you, and impose sentimental delicacy on you.

In certain circumstances, I esteem you, is a salving phrase, and is as much as to say, “You distress me: I do not know how to come off with you: To tell you plainly, that I hate you, would be too much against all the laws of politeness.”

A young man, who tells a disagreeable prude, or a woman on the decline, that he esteems her, means, that she is a fool to entertain any pretensions to his heart; and that he does not esteem her enough to have the complaisance of telling her that he loves her.


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Eternal

There is no eternity in any sublunary thing, and least of all in love.

I will love you eternally: My flame will be eternal. Ridiculous phrases! which signify, “My passion will last as long as it will last.”

Note, that in the Love-kalendar, as moments are sometimes years, and years ages, it happens too, that ages become years, and years moments: thus, It is an eternity since I saw you, sometimes means, “I have not seen you these two days:” and “My love will be eternal,” often signifies, “It will last two days.”

Hyperboles are the familiar language of lovers, who are always in extremes; and too often “in extremes by change more fierce.”


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Eyes

Lovers praise the mouth, the teeth, the hair, the complexion, &c. of their mistresses; but theeyes have always a chief share of their compliments: it is upon their beauty they particularly insist. All that can be said of them, is not obscure to those who understand the signification of charms, attractions, &c. to which the reader is referred.


Omitted text:
All that can be said of them, is not obscure to those who understand the signification of charms, attractions, &c. to which the reader is referred.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Exclaims

These are amorous interjections, designed for marks of a violent desire of persuading what one does not feel. They also serve to fill up, whilst one is recovering breath from a long period; and when a lover has nothing better to say; or is got out of his depth.

Oh! how cruel you are ! How unjust! This means, “Why do not you believe me? I have done every thing toward persuading you, that a gentle lover should: I have talked: I have sighed: I have been for this hour heaping lies upon lies, till I am at the end of my part.” Besides, these breaks have great power and effect; as they express a disorder that always flatters the woman, who thinks herself the cause of it.


Modified text:
Exclamations
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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These are amorous interjections…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Fair

A fair beauty is rarely so lasting as a brown one. They are less lively, less animated; but generally they are more dazzling, more tender, more affecting, and pass for more susceptible of a constant passion. 'Tis a great question, yet undecided, in gallantry, which is the most amiable: but in this the taste is arbitrary; some love the fair, others the brown; and some both.


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Faithful

A faithful lover is a character greatly out of date, and rarely now used but to adorn some romantic novel, or for a flourish on the stage. He passes now for a man of little merit, or one who knows nothing of the world.

By faithfulness, then, is to be understood a firm resolution of reducing an obstinate fair-one: and by a faithful lover, one who has not yet gained his point. The last favours are the extreme unction to love, which rarely or never survives their administration.


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A faithful lover, we are sorry to say, is a character greatly out of date…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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…and by a faithful lover, one who has not yet gained his point The last favours are the extreme unction to love, which rarely or never survives their administration.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Fashion

Governs the world: it regulates the morals, the way of thinking, dressing, eating, writing, entertainments, pleasures, every thing. In love, it exercises a perfect despotism; heroic love is now out of fashion, and constancy and exploded virtue.

A man in fashion is a man who has insinuated himself into the heart of two or three women of reputation in gallantry. It is merely a chance, or some lucky incidents that confer this title: the fame of two or three in intrigues is sufficient for it. The Countess of Light-airs has taken an unaccountable fancy to some coxcomb as worthless as herself. This is spread about, and the curiosity of all the coquettes is a tiptoe, to know whether a woman, who passes for a knowing one, is in the right to have made such a choice. They all design upon him; some, through downright whim; others, out of jealousy, or emulation of beauty: others, to be in the fashion. Then commences a kind of scramble for this hero of the day; whose reign is generally, however, of not long duration. A trifling incident raised him, a trifling incident destroys him; and he sinks out of fashion like any other bauble.


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Fate, Destiny, Stars, &c.

Words of great help to young persons, who catch at every thing to cover or excuse their weakness. Medea is not the last, or only one, who made use of that word as a reason for doing a foolish thing. Many have, since her time, taken their fate or starts to task, for the faults of their inclination. Nothing so frequent as predestinarians in love.

How can a poor creature help her fate? This signifies that the fair-one is too resigned to the system of fatality, to pretend to stem the force of a passion that borrows the plea of it, and is hurried down the stream; whilst the term serves her to yield honourably, and makes a sort of decent figure in a letter or speech.


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Faults

The person one loves never has any. Either the lover does not see them, or is as much reconciled to them as to his own. If they offend him, he is so far from being a true lover, that he is scarce more than an acquaintance, and less than a friend.


Added text:
Either the lover does not see them, (blinded by Cupid's fillet) or is as much reconciled to them as to his own.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Favours

All that a mistress grants to her lover is called so.

They magnify or lessen the favours according to the exigence of the case: but, generally speaking, a lover magnifies small favours, and lessens great ones. Thus, when he pretends to exalt a trifling favour he has obtained, it is by way of insinuation how grateful he would be for greater ones, and thereby inspires the fair-one with a mind to try him with them.

When a lover lessens a great favour, all he says to that purpose signifies, “If I was to form to you too hight an image of the favour I am solliciting, you would think twice before you granted it me.”

The last favour is so called with great propriety; it being out of a woman's power, after that, to grant another; she then commences the person favoured, not favouring.


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Flame

It has the same signification as love. It is a monosyllable of great use in a love-song.


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A Fop

Is one who has not the honour to be a coxcomb; there is not stuff enough in him to reach that character. He is extremely satisfied with his person; fancies every woman that sees him cannot help dying for him: and that he may give the poor creatures as much excuse for their fatal weakness for him as possible, (which by the bye is very good-natured) adds to his person one reason more for their liking it, in dressing irresistibly taudry, and keeps them withal in countenance, by his own example, in loving himself to distraction. He passes most of his time in ogling himself in a glass; priming his figure, and caressing his curls and toupee. He verifies that general maxim, that a thing that can do no harm, will never do much good: for, as no woman can fall to him, that is not as perfectly worthless as himself, of which the damage is not great, so may you safely defy him to make any woman happy, who deserves to be happy. Nor indeed is it in his power to marry, being properly speaking so married to himself, that it looks to him like cuckolding himself, to afford any love to any other but his own sweet person.


Modified text:
…so may you safely defy him to make any woman happy, who deserves to be happy. In short, whoever he may pretend to be in love with, he has very little for any object but his own sweet person.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
A Fop
A Dictionary of Love (1795)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Forsake, Quit, Leave, Desert, Cast off

This word is almost always joined to a negation, which, for enforcement-sake, is generally accompanied with an oath.

No! madam; never will I forsake you. May heaven forsake me, if I do. This, at the first view, seems to signify, that one prefers the beloved object to one's life: but use teaches us that you should at least suppose to be understood such conditions as follows: “If you have always the same charms in my eyes: If I see no other beauty that pleases me better;” And the like.

Sometimes this term is employed, in the style of a half-pique, to re-animate a languishing passion: Well, cruel, since you drive me from you, since you force me to forsake you, it must be so.

A lover who knows how to say this with a tender air, and if he can squeeze out a few tears, so much the better; will advance his affairs notably: though the English of it is:

“The fear of losing a lover may make you give me some encouragement: if I leave you, it will diminish your train: think of that.”

It is, in short, a hint, that, dropped with art, and well-timed, rarely fails of its effect.

In the mouth of one's mistress, when she says, Faithless wretch! And can you forsake me then? It is as much as to say, “Am I then to have the pain of seeing another possess what I thought my own? What will the world say? Why, that I had not charms enough to fix Silvio, who adores Lucinda: they are every day together: he handed her yesterday into the side-box: they danced together at the last ball. Gods! this is not to be borne.”

Such a thought is enough to turn a woman's head, when it is once possessed with so cruel an idea; and will make her say a thousand impertinences, and commit a thousand more, that will fix the terrible term of forsaken upon her.


Omitted text:
And the like. Sometimes this term is employed, in the style of a half-pique, to re-animate a languishing passion: Well, cruel, since you drive me from you, since you force me to forsake you, it must be so.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Fortune, A Man of Fortune

When a wise worldly-minded mother makes use of this expression, in an emphatic tone, to a daughter, whom she is going to sacrifice to a sordid consideration of interest and maintenance, it means, that the man is worth nothing but his fortune. It strictly implies, by the rule of never calling a man by an inferior title, when he has an higher one, that he is not a man of worth, of honour, of virtue, of fine sense, but merely a man of fortune; a man of chance, one who would not in short have been a man in any sense but as made such by fortune. A gambler may also, with great propriety, be called a man of fortune.


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When an avaricious mother makes use of this expression…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
…that he is not a man of worth, of honour, of virtue, of fine sense, but merely a man of fortune ; a man of chance, one who would not in short have been a man in any sense but as made such by fortune. A gambler may also, with great propriety, be called a man of fortune.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Fribble

This word signifies one of those ambiguous animals, who are neither male nor female; disclaimed by his own sex, and the scorn of both. There is ever a silly insipid simper in their countenances. Without any of the good qualities of their own sex, they affect all the bad ones, all the impertinences and follies of the other; whilst what is no more than ridiculous, and sometimes even a grace in the women, is nauseous and shocking in them. A wretch of this no-species, loves mightily the company of the ladies, that he may come in for a share of the amusements that are going amongst them, and which are more to his taste than manly employments or exercise. He even endeavours to make himself necessary to them; combs their lap-dogs, fancies their ribbons, recommends the best scented powder, and loves to be consulted in the cut of their cap, their tea, and the placing of their china-baubles: helps them in their knotting, fringing, embroidering, or shell-work: understands pastry, preserving, pickling, and the like. They are as fond withal of scandal, and all the tittle-tattle of the tea-table, as the veriest woman. They are great critics of dress, and the assortment of colours; can tell which will suit a complexion, and which not. One of them can pronounce emphatically, that yellow does not become a fair one, that colour is not sufficiently contrasted to her skin. That, on the other hand, an olive-beauty does not agree with a brownish light grey, because of the too great opposition of this colour to that of her hair and eye-brows, which will therefore appear harsh: That a yellow, a lemon, a pale, or a straw-colour, should be avoided by the fair-complexioned; and the sky-blue, the light-green, or black, by the brown; with other decisions of the like importance. Nor is their own dress neglected: the muff, the ermin-facing, a cluster-ring, the stone-buckle, and now and then a patch, that on them does not always suppose a pimple, are the plague-spots, in which the folly of these less than butterflies breaks out. Even their swords hand at their sides garnished with a taudry sword-knot, purely for ornament, like bobs at a lady's ears. Some of them too have their own toilettes, and wash in three waters. One would think, in short, that these equivocal animals imitated the women, out of complaisance to them, that they might have the higher opinion of their own sex, from seeing that there were men who endeavoured to come as near it as possible. But so far are they from succeeding, that they disfigure the graces, caricature the faults, and have non of the virtues of that amiable sex.


Modified text:
…and loves to be consulted in the cut of their cap, the colour of their gowns and the placing of their china-baubles
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
He is a great critic in dress…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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One of them can pronounce emphatically…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…the stone-buckle, and now and then a patch, which does not always cover a pimple, are the tokens which ususally recommend these genius's to notice
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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…that they might have the higher opinion of their own sex, from seeing that there were men who endeavoured to come as near it as possible
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Friend

This character, from a man to a lady, is often no other than a mask worn by a lover obliged to disguise himself, and who is the more to be feared, for his dissembling his designs, and watching the advantages of a critical moment. The women should admit no friend that may possibly become a lover. They love their danger who do not attend to this advice.


Omitted text:
The women should admit no friend that may possibly become a lover. They love their danger who do not attend to this advice.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Gallant

Is in plain English, a favoured lover.

A professed gallant is one who is master of the whole academy of Love: who is perfectly versed in the language and practice of that art. He abounds in sentimental expression, without having one grain of sentiment. They are stoics in love, neither moved by what they say or do. Cool observers of every emotion they excite in the hearts of the women they attack, their disorder is regulated, their transports concerted, their successes, murder propense. Perfect comedians, it is hard to know them but by fatal experience. The best guard against the danger of them, is not to suffer their approaches, and for a woman to dread the gallant in every lover who addresses her, till she puts him to the only test, that of an honourable engagement.


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Gallantry

Is often a synonymous word to Love, which see.

Nothing is commoner than gallantry without love; but there can be no love without gallantry: and the best master of it in the world, is love itself.


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General

A general lover is one who makes a profession of a passion he does not feel. He is a great dealer in those fulsome protestations, to which women must be fools indeed to give any credit, as there are none of them who have a tolerable face, or personal charms, that can escape them from him. They talk of love as indifferently as of the weather, and possess all the cant of it; but are the less dangerous, as they want that unction which the passion, when real, never fails to bestow. A woman of sense may feel, that what they say does not come from the heart: it has none of its warmth, and ought to have as little of its persuasion.


Omitted text:
He is a great dealer in those fulsome protestations, to which women must be fools indeed to give any credit, as there are none of them who have a tolerable face, or personal charms, that can escape them from him.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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They talk of love as indifferently as of the weather…
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Giddy

He is a giddy young fellow, is not always said in a bad sense. It means sometimes, that such an one is capable of those happy airs of forgetting himself, and that respect, which is better lost than preserved on some occasions.


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To Gloat

To leer, or look liquorish upon a woman

It is a kind of goatish stare, chiefly used by superannuated letchers.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
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Gold

Love by tipping all its darts with this metal, bids fair for universal monarchy. Nothing resists it, where the quantity is proportioned to the conquest in view. It opens the door of every strong-hold, even to that of the most presumed impregnable virtues. Even a woman fortune-hunter is now no uncommon character.


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Grant

The signification of this word is restrained, or extended, according to the occasions, and the person who employs it.

At least, madam, grant me… means in petto, “There is no coming to my point but by degrees. Neglecting one step may set one back twenty: this slight favour I now sue for will bring on others. My play is to disguise the danger. I petition now, that I may get into a condition of giving laws hereafter.”

A lover resembles Sinon, the introducer of the Trojan horse: he puts on the air of a captive: an humble wretch who fears death, makes a moving speech: the enemy relents, pities his complaint, unties his hands, and grants, what not? Then, if he has but a lucky impudence to assist his treachery, the town before it is aware of its danger, admits the insidious conqueror, that will surprize it, whilst all its guards are asleep.


Omitted text:
To Grant
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Graces

The Heathens, who defied every thing that was amiable, acknowledged three divinities, under the names of Thalia, Aglaë, and Euphrosine, who presided over all the charms of the form and soul. Venus was never without them at her side: they were her premier ministers. Our poets, and our lovers, ever fond of fiction, have adopted these fine ideas: “The Graces accompany you every where.” This stale, thread-bare compliment, and a number of others, in which the Graces are most ungracefully dragged in, have the same signification as charms, beauty, attractions, &c. They have a romantic sound, and do very prettily in poetry.

Sometimes the word is used ironically: as, “Here she comes, with all her airs and graces.”


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Gradations

Nothing is more necessary in love, than the art of gradations. An enjoyment which has not had its due preparation of desire, and courtship, is generally an insipid one. Gradations are the art of cookery in love. A lover, to be thoroughly happy, should see the tender shades of his dawning desire give way by degrees to the meridian of fruition. There is no diversion in being up at the first hand. A thousand preliminary enjoyments should lead him to the last and grand one. Our sense love to be prepared. Retrench from architecture, the portico's, and avenues, which shew you a superb castle at a pleasing distance; take from operas those overtures that prelude so deliciously to them, and you destroy a great part of your pleasure. In love, those preludes are often more engaging, more delightful, than all that follows.


Omitted text:
Gradations are the art of cookery in love. A lover, to be thoroughly happy, should see the tender shades of his dawning desire give way by degrees to the meridian of fruition.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…take from operas those overtures that so delightfully precede them and you destroy a great part of your pleasure
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A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Gratis

A word long exploded, out of the dictionary of love. Nothing for nothing is now the grand maxim in love as well as in politics.

To love gratis, is to love without return, which need happen to none but those unfortunate, who have not at command the eloquence of a rich Jew, or stock-jobber.


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Happy

Term employed in different senses, and may be figuratively understood. Why will you not make me happy? This phrase, justly construed, not seldom signifies, “Why are you prudent enough not to make yourself unhappy, by believing me?”

How happy am I, now you tell me you love me? means,“You rid me of a great deal of plague I have had to bring you to my point: I have no further occasion for all the drudgery of courtship; you have happily relieved me: and I am henceforward to be on the free and easy footing with you.”


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To Hate

Is never understood in a literal sense, but when employed against the ugly and old. In general it is construed in a contrary sense.

A mistress, from whom a favour is extorted by an agreeable violence, whilst she faintly resists, says, Pray, let me alone, I hate you mortally:— This signifies, “Your boldness is far from displeasing me; you may even venture it as far as it will go.”

Can you hate me then? means, “I want to give myself the pleasure of hearing an assurance to the contrary, or of perplexing you, — or of seeing how prettily you can turn a declaration of love.”

I know you hate me; in the mouth of a coxcomb, signifies, “I defy you, for the soul of you, to be otherwise than violently in love with such a pretty fellow as I am.”


Omitted text:
To Hate
A Dictionary of Love (1795)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:

A mistress, from whom a favour is extorted by an agreeable violence, whilst she faintly resists, says, Pray, let me alone, I hate you mortally: — This signifies, “Your boldness is far from displeasing me; you may even venture it as far as it will go.”

Can you hate me then? means, “I want to give myself the pleasure of hearing an assurance to the contrary, or of perplexing you,— or of seeing how prettily you can turn a declaration of love.”


A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Hatred

Where there has been true love, has a very figurative signification. Transports of love have been often mistaken for transports of hatred. It is even often the expression of the most lively tenderness, By hatred then is often to be understood the emotions of a heard fond to distraction, breathing a revenge seldom in its inclination, and never in its power. A declaration of hatred is in women who have loved, never but a declaration of love: when they really do hate, indifference and silence are the genuine signs of it.


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Haughtiness

In the fair, signifies the art of dissembling, and the secret of rendering a lover submissive. The women rarely employ it against those who do not care a farthing for it. It is likewise often used in public as a disguise for great humility in private.


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Heart

A term employed to lard almost every love-period. You possess my heart. My heart feels for you, &c. All these turns signify, “there are certain words of great grace and effect in the love-dialect; and which a young person delights in hearing.” So that the sound of this, and a thousand other words of the like nature, should alarm the fair to stand on their guard against the impression of them. The poison that enters at the ears often makes every vein thrill, and is rarely a slow one.

The heart is often employed as an antithesis to the head. Nothing is juster: for they have their pleasures and language apart. An expression directly from the heart goes to the heart: but the head may imitate its language so well as to produce the same effect. Such a mistake is not even uncommon; and a love-letter has been often taken to come from the heart, when nothing but the head has dictated it.

A novice-heart is one that is at its first campaign. This is the heart most in request, for the great pleasure one imagines there is in giving it the first lesson of love.

A battered heart is one open to love on all sides, and which a thousand coquetteries has worn out, and rendered incapable of a real passion.

For the dissection of a coquette's heart, see the Spectator.


Omitted text:
A novice-heart is one that is at its first campaign. This is the heart most in request, for the great pleasure one imagines there is in giving it the first lesson of love.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Homage

A term used to express the offer of one's heart, of which the vanity of women is often the dupe, especially when they look on it as what they have a right to exact from all who see them; in which case they are often the jest, where they take themselves to be the admiration of those who employ this expression.


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Honour

In women, consists essentially in their chastity; nor has it so faithful a guardian as true love. A lover who deserves that name, so far from attempting to destroy it, becomes, even for his own sake, the protector of it. A regard to it is the true test of a real passion. Every design against it, the instant it is penetrated, is a certain sign of falshood, and unmasks the pretender to love, who thenceforward should be considered and treated as a capital enemy; a way-layer in ambush to rob one of the richest jewel a woman can possess. If she neglects so fair a warning as the first discover affords her, to stand on her guard, her loss should be on her own head. She will but with a very ill grace complain of a man's wronging her honour, when she herself has been false to it. No woman worth pitying was ever so suddenly surprized our of it, as not to have had sufficient notice of her danger; and she who has not dreaded it in time, may be supposed to have loved her fall.


Modified text:
She will with an ill grace complain of a man's despoiling of her honour…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
No woman worth pitying was ever so suddenly surprized our of it, as not to have had sufficient notice of her danger;and she who has not dreaded it in time, may be supposed to have had very little regard to her own virtue
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Hope

A giddy passion, fond of believing every thing that pleases it, be it ever so chimerical; has a great deal of imagination and no judgment. A lover who pretends to say he loves without hopes only means to throw a veil over his pretensions, that he may bring that mistress to his point, whom otherwise her modesty might have restrained. Wherever love is professed, a regard to the end of it, enjoyment, is ever understood. It is the hope of that, which is the true basis of the love-passion.


Omitted text:
Wherever love is professed, a regard to the end of it, enjoyment, is ever understood. It is the hope of that, which is the true basis of the love-passion.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Husband

What is a Husband? Hear a lady's definition, who composed a vocabulary to express the character of one, from her own experience, and which proves how copious our language is on that article. He is, she said, a snarling, crusty, sullen, testy, froward, cross, gruff, moody, crabbed, snappish, tart, splenetic, surly, brutish, fierce, dry, morose, waspish, currish, boorish, fretful, peevish, huffish, sulky, touchy, fractious, rugged, blustering, captious, ill-natured, rusty, churlish, growling, maundering, uppish, stern, grating, frumpish, humoursome, envious dog in a manger, who neither eats himself, not lets others eat.

Love has a strange spite at husbands, and is rarely very favourable to the definition of their character.


Omitted text:
He is, she said, a snarling, crusty, sullen, testy, froward, cross, gruff, moody, crabbed, snappish, tart, splenetic, surly, brutish, fierce, dry, morose, waspish, currish, boorish, fretful, peevish, huffish, sulky, touchy, fractious, rugged, blustering, captious, ill-natured, rusty, churlish, growling, maundering, uppish, stern, grating, frumpish, humoursome, envious dog in a manger, who neither eats himself, not lets others eat.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

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Love has a strange spite at husbands, and is rarely very favourable to the definition of their character.
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Hunting

The love-chace [sic] has this in common with that sport, that a multiplicity of game distracts and spoils it: as dogs confounded between two equal burning heats, pass the hare first sprung, and come to a dead default.


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Importunity

Rhimes [sic] with great propriety to opportunity; and well manage in concert with that, rarely fails of success.

In love, as in other sollicitations, importunity has often carried what has been denied to every other consideration.


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Inclination

To have an inclination, is to declare one's self, openly or secretly, in favour of the person one loves; to take a bent towards him, like a tree to the water. When reason leans with it, it is even a virtue.


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Indifferent

How indifferent you are? That is as much as to say, “I wonder you can have so little attention to my merit.”

A state of indifference is either an insipid or a foolish one. There are no pleasures for the indifferent, which is no balance for there being no pains for them. Love can less bear indifference than hatred.


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Indiscretion

It is rare that a lover can avoid the imputation of this word: he may even be indiscreet thorough too great an affectation of discretion; and betray his secret, by the very measures he takes to conceal it: but this is not so common a character as that of premeditated indiscretion. There are those who would not care a farthing for a conquest, but for the pleasure of making a parade of it to the public. They may say, as Alexander, in the midst of the toils of his expeditions cost him, “Oh! Athenians, all this is to talked of, and to give your tongues employment.”


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Instinct

The merest girls possess an instinct worth all the philosophy of the schools, and which may justly be called the wisdom of nature; since, by the pure light of that, they distinguish between the man and the fortune; between the beast and the trappings; whilst a sordid, money-ridden father shall think he does wonders for his daughter, in cramming unhappiness for life down her throat, in the shape of a coach and six, or an empty title; all the joys of which are poisoned by the wretch to whom they are tacked.


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Interest

Women in general are so persuaded, that interest in love supposes a thorough meanness of heart, that the most mercenary fair-one covers the deformity of this vice with all the flowers of the love-rhetoric. It is especially when she receives presents, that she makes a parade of all the finest sentiments against interestedness: but, whatever they may say, the conduct of the sex in general proves the falsity of their protestations in this point. Interest is the strongest battery that can be employed in the love-sieges, and generally makes a breach by weight of metal. Jupiter changed into a golden shower, and penetrating into the tower of Danaë, as hackneyed as the fable is, furnishes very just and solid reflexions. Interest, if never the key of the heart, is the key of every thing else: and the generality of lovers are fools enough to wink hard at the motive in favour of their pleasure; or mean enough to accept it, on terms that cannot be spurned with half the contempt they deserve.


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Jealousy

An innate passion, composed of envy of another's good, of vanity fond of preference, and the fear of losing the object beloved.

Where envy predominates, a lover will stick to a mistress for whom he feels little or no passion, purely to prevent another's having her. Where this is the case, the fair are not in the wrong to re-enliven the languishing decaying passion of a lover, by inspiring him with a proper dose of jealousy.

Where vanity is the ruling ingredient of it, jealousy subsists no longer than that its nourishment, and the love which gave birth to it, dies with it.

Where the fear of losing one's mistress is the principal constituent of it, and that fear arises from a modest diffidence of one's merit, it is the delicatest, and not the commonest proof of love; and as such, the cruelty would be to abuse it.

In women, it is often founded on a motive too coarse for them to own, though perfectly understood; and which therefore is highly their interest to dissemble. Jealousy has often, like fear, provoked, and brought on the evil, of which it suggests the apprehension, and realized an imaginary grievance. A lover desires no better game than the wife of a jealous husband, whose suspicions have perhaps first started the hint, and absolve her of her breach of faith, according to the loose modern casuistry.


Added text:
Jealousy∗ (∗If you would see this passion properly ridiculed, read the Comedy of Every Man in his Humour— The character of Kitely is highly finished.)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Omitted text:
…purely to prevent another's having her. Where this is the case, the fair are not in the wrong to re-enliven the languishing decaying passion of a lover, by inspiring him with a proper dose of jealousy.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
Where the fear of losing one’s mistress is the principal constituent of it, and that fear arises from a modest diffidence of one’s merit, it is the delicatest, and not the commonest proof of love; and as such, the cruelty would be to abuse it.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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To Jest

When at a Tête-à-tête, a lady says, with a certain air, I do not like this jesting; it signifies, “Every thing declares in your favour; even this little coyness is but a signal of your victory.”

Other more learned interpreters pretend with more boldness and probability, that these words mean, “This is no time for jesting: I should like better you was in earnest.” And that it is using a lady very ill not to take it in that sense.

Some make love only by way of jest, but this is inhuman sport: they may as well commit murther [sic] in jest.


Variant spelling:
murther | murder A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
To Jest
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Kiss

Some authors will have it, that a kiss is no kiss, or at best a half one, unless returned at the same time.

In some countries there is such a stress laid upon it, that a woman who grants a kiss, has passed away all right to refuse anything else. It is the seal of a treaty of surrender at discretion.

In ours, its signification is determined by the circumstances, the degree of warmth, the part, the time, and other particulars needless to enumerate. But of all kisses, the turtle-billing one is the most emphatic, but rarely used, where there is not full liberty to use every thing else.

In general, however, one may venture to pronounce kissing dangerous. A spark of fire has often been struck out of the collision of lips, that has blown up the whole magazine of virtue.


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Kneeling

Women are not absolutely in the wrong to take themselves for little divinities, when they see this tribute of adoration paid them. And they are the only sublunary beings to whom it may be paid without humiliation.

It is a posture, however, that ought to put them on their guard; for it is a devilish favourable one to the enterprizes of a lover. It is an attitude invented to prove respect, and which is often very commodious for the breaking it


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Knights-Errant

This name was given to a set of hardy adventurers, whose profession was to run about the world in quest of broken bones, to redress wrongs done to widows, orphans, to the honour of ladies, or gentle damsels. One might as soon conceive the sun without light, as a knight-errant without love: not one of them but had his fair-one to invoke in all perilous occasions. The race of these has been long extinct. In their room we have a species of modern Knights-errant, whose institutes are very different. They are far from vagabonding it to Trebizond, or Cataya, in search of dangerous adventures. They stay at home contentedly. Their business is to promote or do wrongs: to deceive the damsels they do know, and scandalize those they do not. An orange-wench, a washer-woman, or a bagnio-hack, is the lady they invoke in their pressing occasions: the taverns, or piazzas, are the theatres of their exploits; and the coffee-houses, the place where they trumpet their Romances.


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To Know

In love, most persons, instead of desiring to know, before they fix their choice, choose first, and learn to know afterwards. When, as Davenant expresses it, “As knowledge is but sorrow's spy, it might be better not to know.”


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Languish

Is a term of great significance in heroic love: it is the delicate effect of a pure flame, that consumes one agreeably: it is a dear and tender love-sickness, that makes one hate the thought of a cure, and secretly nourishes the disease at the bottom of the heart: and when it ventures a discovery of itself, the eyes, silence, a sigh that escapes one, involuntary tears, express it more pathetically than all the eloquence of words.

The reign of these heroic passions is pretty well over. The Celadons, and the Philanders, are now only to be found in soft pastorals, or pure and silly romances. To languish then has no longer the same signification that it has in Astrea, or in the mouth of a Cyrus, or Oroondates. At present it means a state of stupidity, or ignorance of the means of succeeding; as when a money'd cit addresses a fine lady, without bethinking himself of putting his hand to his purse; or a soft fop gives himself the air of languishing metaphorically, and ogles amorously a gay coquette, who laughs at his white hand, and his slimy figure.


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Languor

There is an air of languor, which, when a lover knows how to put on, is devilish contagious to a young unexperienced heart. Nothing so powerful to inspire the fair with a dangerous forgetfulness of themselves, and throw them into those tender reveries, in which a lover is sure to find his account.


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Lease of Love

A Love-Engagement.

Unfortunately, Love, being as it is painted, ever a child, is ever a minor: so that, how strongly worded soever may be his bonds, or contracts of lease, he is always at liberty to plead non-age, and be relieved from them; and rare it is, indeed, that he does not make use of his privilege. Those leases then only serve to throw dust in the eyes of those who are glad at any rate to take them for valid, that they may have at least some excuse.

With those beauties, who let their charms out at so much for a time certain, a lease of Love is generally transacted by note of hand, or other good security.


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Leave

Leave me; pray leave me: In certain situations, and in the mouth of a mistress to an urgent lover, are terribly critical words, that imply an imminent surrender at discretion. Every pulse is then beating the dead-march of her virtue; and they are such tender deprecations of his taking the advantage of her confessed weakness, that he would be cruel indeed to take her at her word, and leave her.


Omitted text:
To Leave
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Level

Love levels every thing.

This is a shrewd persuasive turn, often employed by a lover of a superior rank to a mistress of an inferior one, to induce her to conceive chimerical hopes, and stun her reflections upon the consequences of the sly sap they serve him to carry on. Sometimes he joins to it the examples of some famous fools, who have thrown themselves away upon Pamelas, and winds up with some insidious praises of the beauty and merit of the person upon whom he is designing. This conclusion is generally very forcible: but before she determines, she would do well to consult upon the value of it, one of those numberless deserted damsels, who have been the dupes of their hopes from it.


Omitted text:
This is a shrewd persuasive turn, often employed by a lover of a superior rank to a mistress of an inferior one ,to induce her to conceive chimerical hopes, and stun her reflections upon the consequences of the sly sap they serve him to carry on.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Liberty

The state of a heart which has never loved, or has ceased loving. See Calm . It is often used in a libertine sense, as in this phrase: I dread the marriage-fetters: I love my liberty.

Liberty is the life of Love, which is of the nature of some birds, who refuse all sustenance, and dies, under the least confinement.

I do not like these liberties: this said before company, with a stolen wink, means, “You forget yourself: when we are in private, as much of them as you please: but in public pray be more reserved.”


Omitted text:
The state of a heart which has never loved, or has ceased loving. See Calm. It is often used in a libertine sense, as in this phrase: I dread the marriage-fetters: I love my liberty.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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To Love

In times of yore, signified an invincible inclination: at present it has quite another meaning, and often no meaning at all. There is as much difference between what we call Love, and what our fore-fathers called so, as between our dress and theirs; between our snug frocks and cut bobs, and their slashed doublets and natural hair. Every sublunary thing changes; but our manner is so easy and commodious, that it threatens a long duration.

Most of the present Love is what our blunt ancestors called by another very coarse name, or what is infinitely coarser yet, though unblushingly pronounced, Sordid Interest.

Tom Featherhead loves Miss Lightairs. That is to say, Tom is a coxcomb, whose glitter has dazzled the eyes of a silly frothy girl: he is what is called extremely well with her, and has the rare privilege of murdering his time in gallanting her Ranelagh, Vaux-hall, &c. charmed with which glorious reputation, he would not change it for a Marlborough's or Turenne's.

Goatly loves the innocent Sylvia. That is as much as to say, he is laying every scheme he can imagine, to add her to the lift of the wretched victims who have fallen a prey to his brutal appetites: whilst all her personal beauties, her inimitable bloom, her fine-turned shape, have been surveyed by him, with the same eye as Cannibals view their captives, of whom they design to make a meal.

When young Sharply says to the old liquorish Lady Wishfort, I love you, the true English of this is, “I am a younger born, unfortunately born under a star that gave me the soul of a prince, and the fortune of a beggar. No man had ever a stronger passion for pleasures and expence than I have: but I am ruined at play; I am over head and ears in debt. As you have then a fortune that may stop all my leaks, and set me on float, let us supply one another's wants.” And 'tis ten to one but he carries his point with the fond dotard, who never considers that she is making a bubble's bargain, for one of those few things which money can never purchase.


Omitted text:
Every sublunary thing changes; but our manner is so easy and commodious, that it threatens a long duration.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…charmed with which glorious renown, he would not change it…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:

Goatly loves the innocent Sylvia. That is as much as to say, he is laying every scheme he can imagine, to add her to the lift of the wretched victims who have fallen a prey to his brutal appetites: whilst all her personal beauties, her inimitable bloom, her fine-turned shape, have been surveyed by him, with the same eye as Cannibals view their captives, of whom they design to make a meal.


A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
To Love
A Dictionary of Love (1795)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Love, The Love-passion

It is a modern discovery, that Love is as much a bodily appetite as hunger and thirst, which are removed by a hearty meal, or a copious draught; and, like them too, is liable to a surfeit. This doctrine is so far countenanced, that some knowing ladies prefer by much, that Love which is a corporeal want, to that which is an imaginary one.— Some indeed will have it a distemper, that may be cured by plentiful evacuations, bleeding, purging, and a low diet. A certain duke, who was what they call violently in love, being seized by a fever, for which he was bled, blistered, and brought low in the flesh, on his recovery he lost at once his fever and his love, to a point, that no trace of it remained in his imagination.

As to Platonic Love, it is a mere opera-finger, a voice, and nothing more. Lady Manlove, who is an excellent judge, said, if such a rascal as Platonic Love was to come within her doors, she would order her porter to kick him out.

There are who [sic] have defined Love to be a desire of being loved by the object one loves. According to La Rochefoucault, it never goes, at the delicatest, without a secret desire of enjoyment. This is the end after which the merest Arcadian swain is sure to sigh, even whilst he protests the contrary to his nymh[sic], who with all her modesty would despise him, if she believed him; and who herself often goes his halves in the wish, without distinctly knowing the nature of the wish.

Love was formerly a commerce of fair-dealing; a Love-for-love scheme. Other times, other manners. It is now a match play'd of tricks and sharpership, in which each side proposes to take fair or unfair advantages of the other. At present, sheer disinterested love passes for a chimaera, and the sentiments of it are left to garnish romances, or flower the fustian of some modern tragedy. All the metaphysical ideas of it are not so much as understood now. Here follows a specimen of the style of our modern lovers.

Clarissa
Ah! if you did but love me!

Townly
Who me! not love you! Nothing is comparable to my love for you: you alone are the mistress of my heart. Without you I can have no thought of happiness: but…

Clarissa
But what?

Townly
Nothing: only you know the world too well to take it ill: Emilia has a thousand pounds more to her fortune: and could I deserve your love, if I was so weak as not to let my reason get the better of my inclination?

And (N.B.) this is so much in common course, that the Hibernicism of his incomparable Love, yielding to his interest, passes unnoticed.

There is indeed a Love, which seems a contradiction to the power of Interest: and that is, when some raw, silly novice takes a passion for an object very much disproportioned to him; or when a rich old fellow marries his tucker-up: but neither does this deserve the name of genuine Love. It only supposes a more than ordinary eclipse of reason; a blind rage, that does not let them see how many bitter days they are preparing themselves, for the sake of one night's luscious banquet. It is being put to bed in a fit of drunkenness, to rise the next morning miserably sobered, and with a head-ach for life.


Variant spelling:
nymh | nymph A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
It is now a match play'd of tricks and sharps
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A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Lovely

See Amiable


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
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Love-Letters, Billet-doux

There is no passion so writative as Love. The ill-spelt scrawl of the fair one beloved, is worth all the eloquence of Cicero. The great art of love-letters is to have none. They are not worth a farthing, when they are well, that is artfully, written. They should breath the pure unaffected language of the heart; and are not the worse for expressing the disorder of the passion that dictates them. Nothing is truer than that trite maxim, so finely expressed by one of our writers, and which I think we have already noticed,

“And nonsense shall be eloquence in Love.”


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Lover

A lover and his mistress, supposing them to be no novices, and to have seen the enemy, are two persons who think of nothing reciprocally, but how they may impose on each other; tell one another pleasing lies, which, by a tacit agreement, the parties accept as the most perfect truths, or of which they only obligingly doubt.


Omitted text:
…by a tacit agreement, the parties accept as the most perfect truths, or of which they only obligingly doubt.
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A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Lucretia

A name used to express a model of virtue: not very properly however, since she was, strictly and in fact, rather a martyr to her reputation than her chastity; whilst, to avoid the scandal with which Tarquin threatened her, on non-compliance, she gave up the thing itself to preserve the name, and wisely swallowed the affront, though afterwards she gave herself the air of dying of an indigestion of it.


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Lust

A term extremely odious; and which, however, as nothing is commoner than the thing itself, it behooves the fair to take care of not mistaking for Love. The test of both is enjoyment. If Love subsists unabated after it, the love was real: if not, it was only Lust. But how should women not be deceived in this point, when the men themselves are often woefully deceived by themselves, and mistake one passion for another, all wide as is the difference?


Omitted text:
…and mistake one passion for another , all wide as is the difference?
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A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Mad

Are you mad? is a term often used, with no very forbidding term, to an enterprizing lover, who has never more his senses about him, than when he seems to be so much out of them, as not to know what he is about. The truth is, that he only knows too well what he is about.


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Maggot, Whim, Fancy

No man is without his maggot, either in life or love.


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Marry

Most lovers, persuaded that he who marries is an enemy to his own repose, the betrayer of his own freedom, or a cully to his own desires, rarely employ this word but as a last resource.

After the ordinary declarations, a man worked up to a proper pitch, and who finds his fair-one deaf to any other proposal, has recourse to this word, or rather to some term equivalent to a promise of marriage.

Thus, I have no designs on you but what are honourable, signifies, “Since you exact so much, and I must give you hopes of marriage, this may serve to quiet your scruples, till this lure may give me moments of advantage.”

In the mean time, this plausible word covers their approaches, as the blind of fascines does those of the besiegers, till their mine is ready for springing, to blow up the virtue thus sapped to its foundations.


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Matrimony

A term which is the stale topic of ridicule to witlings, libertines, and coxcombs; and a term of the utmost respect amongst the virtuous and the sensible. It is, like patriotism, the most noble motive, and the most infamous pretext. It is the paradise of the wise, and the hell of fools. At present, the fashion is, properly speaking, to commit matrimony; since, on the footing that things are, it is rather a crime than a virtue; since no nobler a view determines numbers to it, than sends a highwayman to Hounslow-heath; to wit, the taking a purse. Sordid interest is now the great master of ceremonies to Hymen, of which it pollutes the sanctuary, and dishonours the worship. Parents who sacrifice their children to it, are worse than the Ammonites, who burnt theirs in honour to Moloch: at least the pain of those wretched victims was momentary; whilst the pain of those sold for interest is a lingering one, and often as sure a death.


Modified text:
…since, on the footing that things are, it is rather a crime than a virtue; many enter into it with no better design than a highwayman to Hounslow-heath…
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Maid

Is a general term for women before they are married; and often no more than a nominal title. The condition of a Maid is a state of fears, wishes, subjection, and slavery. A maid is often one who is heartily tired of domestic regularity. Marriage is the great gate by which she gets out of her captivity, tho' some make their escape out of it through the sally-port of an intrigue.

Old maid is an atrociously abusive expression, generally employed to signify one who could get no-body to make her otherwise; and always means a repenting one.


Modified text:
A maid is often one who is heartily tired of being so.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
Old maid is an atrociously abusive expression, generally employed to signify one who could get no-body to make her otherwise; and always means a repenting one.
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Maidenhead

Vulgarly for Maidenhood.

An ideal bliss, of which most men are extremely fond, from the notion they entertain of a superior joy, in leading rather than in following. Prince Henry, the son of James the first, accounted for it, when he said, in relations to the celebrated Lady Essex, that he did not care to wear a glove which another had stretched.

There are whole nations, however, who underprize it so much as to make it an article of marriage, not to be obliged to perform the ceremony of it, and get some friends to rid them of the trouble on the wedding night. This only proves however, that this point, like many others, is only a matter of opinion.


Modified text:
This only proves however, that this point, like many others, is matter of opinion only
A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Mistress

See To Love


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
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Money

A term of infinite power in the present modern system of Love. The possession of it alone confers the title of Lover, as it does that of a Lord. A bank-bill genteelly conveyed, beats all the fine things a Catullus or Tibullus could say. The English of it is extremely plain: “I leave to your needy younger brothers and officers, who live upon their commissions, the drudgery of courtship: I love an easy, ready pleasure. None of the vulgarisms of sighs, intreaties, and the like nonsense for me. See, will this suit you?” But remember we are in an age where nothing is given for nothing.


Omitted text:
“See, will this suit you?” But remember we are in an age where nothing is given for nothing.
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Nature

Is one of those words, in which the eloquence of lovers shines with success. Nothing is more persuasively employed than the appeals made to it, against the rigid prescriptions of duty. Thus when a lover makes use of this trite argument: “Either nature is imperfect in itself, by giving us inclinations that the laws condemn, or the laws are justly accusable of too great severity, in condemning inclinations given us by nature.”

This profound sophistry means, “Since you have scruples, my game is to remove them. Reason may give itself what airs it pleases; but if you love me, nature will do the rest of my work for me.”


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No

Is a term very frequently employed by the fair, when they mean nothing less than a negative. Their yes is always yes, but their no is not always no. The air and tone of it determines the signification: Sometimes too the circumstances, a smile, or a look.


Added text:
Sometimes too the circumstances, a smile, or a look. The Fair one does not always wish we should take her at her word when she answers no
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Nothing

It is a maxim in general practice, as well as in Love, that she who says nothing, gives consent. Silence is then a formal acceptance of whatever is offered. A fair-one pressed to explain herself, and who says nothing, says full enough. One must be a great novice indeed not to construe her in that sense: but when there is withal a tender, languishing look, a perplexed air that accompanies this silence, there is no doubt to be made of the energy and meaning of it.


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Oaths

In Love, are generally as false as counters, and like them are occasionally used to represent what ought to be the stake. True love is rarely lavish of them: it feels itself too real to need their enforcement, and delights in that Quaker-simplicity which defies them, and on the strength of which the Quakers call their religion Truth.


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Obey

Is a word never to be construed too literally. Thus when a lover says, “I look on it as my duty to obey you: your will is my law.” He means, “I treat you as a sovereign in order to make you my slave. I fob you with appearances, that I may obtain realities.”

The conduct of most lovers justifies this interpretation.

There are moments in which a woman would be very ill pleased with a blind submission, and an obedience without reserve. Any lover, novice enough on those occasions to dread the fair-one's displeasure, would infallibly incur it. It is misconstruing her intention to obey orders pronounced only for form's sake, and on which she would have just reason to complain, if you was [sic] to act as if you thought her in earnest.


Modified text:
…and on which she would have just reason to complain, if you were to act as if you thought her in earnest.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
…as if you thought her in earnest.

It is the only word so disgusting to the fair-one in the matrimonial service


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Object

The object of my tenderness, often means, “One who serves me for amusement, or for one, upon whom I have the very worst intentions, under the colour of love.”


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Obstacles

They are the whets of love, the great incentives of a desire to overcome them, of which that passion has all the benefit. They have often created, often revived, often perpetuated, and never destroyed it. They are the zest of an intrigue, which would without them have perished with languor and wearisomeness. See Difficulties.


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Offer

I offer you a heart penetrated with the tenderest passion. Words of course that signify very little. I offer you my purse, not only sounds better, but expresses more sincerity.


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To Ogle

To fix one's eyes amorously upon a woman, to catch hers, and strive to fix them. This is one of the first methods of attack practiced by fortune-hunters.


Omitted text:
To Ogle
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Old Maid

Is a term used to distinguish those who could not get any body to make them otherwise. It is however; too often a term of reproach, because it is not a woman's own fault if she is an old maid; if she never was lucky enough to be asked the question


Added text:
New word. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Paramour

A Favourite gallant; a peculiar, a minion.


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Passion

See Love

It is the lively, continual desire of possessing its object. It is rarely a merit in the person affected by it. He is a passive machine, and suffers, not chooses, the impression by which he is actuated. If that was duly considered, there would be less violent complaints against folly, or inconstancy in Love. It is for those who are the aim of a love-passion, to weigh well the nature of it, and take their precautions accordingly.


Omitted text:
See Love
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Pity

One of the great avenues to Love. The women, naturally susceptible of the softer impressions, are most liable to this passion. They compassionate strongly those whom they see suffer: and it is a weak side, of which the men take advantage, who feign sufferings, to bring them to real ones. Pity then, like charity, should begin at home.


Omitted text:
…who feign sufferings, to bring them to real ones. Pity then, like charity, should begin at home
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Plaintive

The style of lovers is ever a plaintive one. A lover is naturally a querulous animal. Complaints of one sort or other fill up the letters and conversations of lovers: and he has not always the most reason to complain, who complains the most.

What do you complain of? in the mouth of the Fair, signifies, “I have granted you all that decency would allow me to grant you: it is your business to take the rest.”


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To Please

Constitutes the whole art of Love. It is one of those words that would be obscured by definitions. He who possesses the power of pleasing has every thing that is necessary to his success in Love.

I desire nothing but to please you, is equivalent to saying, I love you. See To Love .

At least tell me that I do not displease you, is a trap for an encouraging compliment, as for the fair-one to reply, “Who tells you that I am not pleased with you?” imports, that she is entering into a course of payment.


Omitted text:
To Please
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Pledge

Receive this pledge of my tenderness. This phrase, when it accompanies a present, signifies, “If you should have sense enough to see my drift; if you should be on your guard against my designs, here is something to keep off those reflexions: here is a quieting draught, for the watchful dragon of your virtue.”

If a superannuated mistress takes this method, it means, “As good an opinion as I have of myself, I dare not entirely trust the power of my charms: I am of an age that I must expect to pay for what I have, and atone for the deficiencies of youth and beauty.”

In this case, she resembles the Tyrians, who for fear their gods should leave them, tied them with gold chains.

Even a young mistress may use this expedient, and make a trifling present to a lover, backward in his offerings, by way of broad hint to him, to have recourse to this powerful battery.


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Praise

Flattery. Almost synonymous terms.

No woman loves a divided share of it. There is no pleasing two mistresses at a time with it. The women are yet greedier of praise than their lovers are lavish of it. Thus, when they say, “I am not the dupe of these compliments: I hate praise.” These are only traps for more of it; nor is there any danger of over-doing it with them. They all think, whatever they may pretend, like the Queen of Naples who said to her favourite minister, Tu m’aduli, si, ma tu mi piacci.
“Though I know you flatter me, still you please me.”
Too many women have been praised for their virtue, till they have been praised out of it. Next to interest, it is the love-engineer's instrument of attack.


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Presents

A term of great power and energy, and, generally speaking, the shortest way for a lover to get to his journey's end. They are proportioned to the fortune and rank of the person upon whom the design is. A duchess may fall to a diamond necklace, and a chambermaid to a taudry ribbon. It has even been known, that a silly girl has been seduced by a dozen of stick-cherries. In short, the great art is how to adapt, place, proportion, and time them.


Added text:
In short, the great art is how to adapt, place, proportion, and time them well
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Promises of Matrimony

See Matrimony

Without entering into a detail of the signification of this term, it will suffice to observe, that making them is one thing, and keeping them another.


Omitted text:
See Matrimony
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Provocatives

There are no provocatives like youth and beauty on one side, and a healthy constitution on the other. It is all over with a man, when he is to be indebted for his powers of enjoyment to Spanish-flies, or inflammatory food; when he is obliged to cry out with the worn-out letcher,


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Prude

Signifies a woman who at her heart is no enemy to gallantry, but loves it without noise; or one who is slenderly provided with personal charms, and betakes herself to prudery, to acquire the esteem of the world; or one who wants to throw the veil of it over her conduct, or use it for a varnish to her reputation.

These grimaces, however, deceive nobody. We are in too clear-sighted an age to be the dupes of that false delicacy, that takes umbrage at every thing, and gives a criminal sense to the most innocent actions and words: a mysterious severity, of which some women hoist the standard, and pass one half of their lives in concealing the other half.

Occasions however occur too often to prudes, as they do to bullies, for either of them to brave it long on a false bottom.


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Qualities

It is not your beauty alone that charms me, but the divine qualities of your understanding and heart: it is your soul alone with which mine is enraptured. All speeches of this sort mean, “I find you are one of the sentimental ladies, forsooth! and on that foot you shall not want for some metaphysical jargon to dazzle and dumbfound you.”

But will these spiritualities pass? Yes, but with those alone who are spoilt by reading romances, or the double-refined nonsense of some modern French novel-writers.


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Quarrels

They are the common appendage of a love intrigue. Falling out and falling in again, give it a variety, without which it would be too dull and uniform. Quarrels are the zest of coquettes and professed gallants. Accusing and justifying, form a necessary diversion. Take away these grand movers, and you rob the sphere of love of its greatest activity. Love would stagnate in too great a calm: it is like the Pitterell who delights to live in storms.

There is even a moral reason for their quarrels: as neither side observes much fidelity to the other, they are apt to believe ill of each other; besides the policy of getting the start in complaining. Thence these reproaches, explanations, reconciliations, ruptures, and declarations of hatred.

In married life, the first quarrel is even dangerous: and, like the first step in life, decides of the future ones.


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Quarter

He must be a novice indeed, who does not know that when the fair-one cries out quarter, it is only a form of prayer to him not to shew her any.

Quarter is sometimes the debt of a superannuated lady to some petty-coat pensioner Adonis, upon whom she has no beauty to operate, but that of her strong-box.


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Rakes

Of all the general maxims that seduce women, there is not one falser than that which recommends to them a reformed Rake. He is a being worn out, and unfit to proceed on so great a voyage as that of matrimony. Nature, in him, is drained to the very lees, both in sentiment and actual powers. His lavished vigour and youth have deserted him, before he has dreamed of founding a healthy progeny. A woman who ventures upon him is like one who would choose to put to sea in a shattered, leaky, worm-eaten vessel, that is sure to founder before half the voyage is over.


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Reason

Is banished the states of Love. Where-ever reason is against pleasure, pleasure is against reason, and generally carries the day. Sometimes, indeed, reason is bribed into the interests of the enemy, and mounts the stage only like those prize-fighters, who have sold their battles, and are hired to take a beating.

You make me lose my reason, in a lover's mouth, signifies, “Since it is a maxim in love, that no one is a thorough lover who has any share of reason, I renounce at least the appearances of it, in hopes to bring you to renounce the reality.”


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Reconciliation

Some reconciliations are attended with such pleasure, that it is almost worth making a quarrel on purpose, for the sake of the joy of a reconcilement. It is however dangerous to risk this practice so often as to stale it: for it may happen that the reconciliation may never come.


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Rendezvous

See Assignation


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Reproaches

See Quarrels

No word has a worse sound, or generally a worse effect. They are often used preventively, by those who are conscious of deserving them. They stale, when often repeated, and commonly defeat their own end. Many a passion has received its death-wound from them, for want of properly timing, or of skill and delicacy in the management of them. No maxim, then, truer than the following one, which is rhymed for the sake of its being easier retained.

    In Love, reproaches are but rarely felt,
    And always harden, where they fail to melt.

Omitted text:
See Quarrels
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Reputation

One of the great centinels upon female virtue.

Think of what your love exposes me to: Consider what may be said of us; signifies, “At least we must save appearances: cover our game, and throw dust in the eyes of the world.”

Thus in some women, reputation is but a crime, the more in them, since they owe it to the vice of hypocrisy.


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Reserve

Nothing gives so great a set-off to beauty, or raises its value so much as reserve, when unaffected, and owing to a just sense of one's dignity. A ∗philosopher of this age attributes to it the source of politeness, and the very essence of power in beauty. Hear him.

“Politeness of manners is the work of the women. They have opposed to the superior bodily strength of men, victorious arms, when by their reserve they taught us to acknowledge the empire of beauty: a natural advantage, greater than that of strength, but which supposes the art of managing it properly. For the ideas which different people have of beauty, are so singular, so opposed, that there is all reason to believe, that women have gained more by the art of making themselves desired, than even by this gift of nature, of which men judge so differently. They agree much more uniformly about the value of what is in fact the object of their desires, the price of which augments to them in proportion to the difficulties of obtaining possession of it. The women then were greatly the more beautiful, for respecting themselves enough to refuse the addresses of all who attacked them in any other way but that of sentiment; and from sentiment once introduced into this passion, the politeness in manners followed in course.”

(∗Buffon.)


Omitted text:
A philosopher ∗(∗ Buffon)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Resistance

In love, as in war, is often only an art, in the governor of a place, to raise the importance, and obtain the honours of war, for a fortress from the first intended to be given up.

Women often resist in occasions, when they would not be very sorry not to be the strongest. The great art of resistance then is to push it to a certain point, equidistant from too great a discouragement, or too great a cheapness; by which means virtue is pressed into the service of the passions, not to subdue them, but to exalt the relish of them.


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Respect

True love never goes without respect: and its counterfeit is often obliged to feign it, till an occasion serves to throw it out of the windows.

I have too much respect for you, in the mouth of a sly prostrate engineer, signifies, “I know better things than to hazard freedoms, prematurely, before the way is cleared for them.”

In the mouth of a novice, it means, “I have too much bashfulness.”

There are occasions, in which the plain English of it is, “I despise you too much to tell you that I love you.” And this is generally addressed to those figures made to inspire rather a prudential respect, than rude desires.

Cruel is the situation of a woman treated with a respect, for which she is forced to blush, by the consciousness of neither deserving, nor desiring it.


Omitted text:

In the mouth of a novice, it means, “I have too much bashfulness.”

There are occasions, in which the plain English of it is, “I despise you too much to tell you that I love you.” And this is generally addressed to those figures made to inspire rather a prudential respect, than rude desires.

Cruel is the situation of a woman treated with a respect, for which she is forced to blush, by the consciousness of neither deserving, nor desiring it.


A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Return

Pray make a return to my love, signifies, “Agree to believe all I shall say to make a fool of you.”

Can one love without the hopes of a return? This question is discussed under the article of Hope, which see. See Hope


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Rigour

This word formerly signified a hardness of heart, and insensibility, on which there was no making any impression. At present, it is the art of irritating the passion of a lover, of preserving the longer one's power, and of raising one's value or price upon him.


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Rival

There are few persons worth loving, with whom a lover must not lay his account with being plagued by Rivals. A Rival then is looked on as a sure card to keep a heart in action, to give it a new degree of vivacity, or to reanimate an indolent lover, whom it may be dangerous to leave in too great a security. Sometimes a Rival is made use of as a shoeing-horn, to draw another into matrimony. He is a sort of bank opposed to a torrent, in order only to augment its violence.

Rival is sometimes synonymous to out-bidder. A lady of the town is on the point of a treaty with a man of fortune: he thinks the terms high; he hesitates; he wants to beat down her price. To determine him, a rival is brought into play, who he is afraid will take his bargain out of his hands. At this, he is piqued in honour not to give up the point. He concludes upon the foot she at first proposed, and his charmer melts into his arms, upon touching the first quarter of her settlement in advance.


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Rogue

Is generally a term of honour, or at least of tenderness. He is a happy rogue, — the rogue of my heart, and the like.

Sometimes indeed it is employed rather angrily, by a deserted damsel: as, for instance, half sobbing and crying, “I am sure he has been a rogue to me”: which is, in other words, “I have been a fool to myself.”


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Ruin

To Ruin a woman of her honour, or (what is worse to many of them) of the reputation of it.

Terrible as this word sounds, there are of them, who would look on no unhappiness so great, as that of having no reason ever to fear it would be attempted.

Do you want to ruin me? is a phrase of capitulation: a kind of dying speech of a virtue, just going to be turned off.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Run Away

There is nothing left for it but your running away with me. This is rarely hazarded in express terms: but when the fair-one is sufficiently disposed, and her reason destroyed, her artful seducer employs this proposal, though in softened expressions, which at the bottom means as follows:

“Hitherto we have only committed the common follies of love; but now, let us consummate them by a stroke of êclat. I have so perfect a regard for you, that I make use of all the advantage your love gives me over you, to persuade you to take refuge in my arms, from tyrannical parents, whose darling you are, whose life it is necessary to my happiness you should imbitter [sic] for ever: (or perhaps) from a husband who adores you, who is so cruel to you as to want to have you all to himself; and whom you are going to overwhelm with shame and sorrow, whilst my passion lasts; and it will last as long — as it can: I will stand you in the stead of all you lose for my sake: when I am heartily tired of you, I shall arm myself with firmness enough to part with you: you may cry, complain, storm, all will be in vain: then you may go back to your family; that is to say, if it is silly and fond enough to receive you: if not, there are the ever open arms of the town for you.”

All this, the word Run-away implies, though you may be sure so much is never expressed.


Modified text:
“that is to say, if it is fond enough to receive you: if not,the town will receive you with open arms”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
“…ever open arms of the town for you” All this, the word Run-away implies, though you may be sure so much is never expressed
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Sacrifice

I Sacrifice to you my heart, my liberty, &c. This sacrifice is generally of no great importance, and is accordingly accepted for what it is worth.

To sacrifice an old mistress to a new one. Nothing costs a gallant so little, or flatters a Fair-one so much. Thus,

“I had a passion for Lucinda: I had inspired her with an equal one for me; and she will be desperately vexed at finding I sacrifice her to you.”

This means, “I know there is nothing of which you women are fonder, than being enriched with the spoils of another.”

But the sacrifice is doubly welcome, when it is that of her dear friend, and her rival in beauty. Thus, You reproach me with this conquest? Well; I sacrifice it to you: Can you desire more?

This means,“ I will use you one day just as I use her at present. Your vanity shuts your eyes to this certain consequence: but when a sad experience shall make you open them, you will have no reason to complain. Had not my conduct given you sufficient warning?”


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Scandal

After employing a thousand praises on the Fair one loves, scandal and detraction are what please the most. They are even received as implicit, indirect praise. Thus a lover who abuses, to his mistress, every woman of merit, and especially her dearest friends, proves himself to be a master of his art. It is one of the most leading avenues to a woman's heart, who always places to her own account whatever is detracted from another's.

The great Chinese moralist, being asked why he allowed scandal to women, answered, First, because it is impossible to hinder it. Secondly, because the fear of it from one another is an useful check upon their conduct.

And, in fact, the tea-table assizes form courts of judicature, the respect of which have kept many a woman from playing the fool.


Omitted text:

The great Chinese moralist, being asked why he allowed scandal to women, answered, First, because it is impossible to hinder it. Secondly, because the fear of it from one another is an useful check upon their conduct.

And, in fact, the tea-table assizes form courts of judicature, the respect of which have kept many a woman from playing the fool.


A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Added text:
…whatever is detracted from another's It argues however, very mean talents in any lover who is at a loss to amuse his mistress, but at the expence of another's reputation.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Seraglio

An inclosure [sic], in which a number of women are shut up and inslaved [sic] to the pleasure of one tyrant. A modern author, speaking of a queen who kept a seraglio of men, prefers it as much the most natural and sensible establishment.

“A seraglio of women, says he, in which one man reigns sole sovereign, is like a melancholy dismal valley, through which creeps a poor narrow stream, scarce sufficient to afford water to two or three sheep amongst a hundred that are perishing with thirst: whilst a seraglio of men, presided by a woman, is a joyous pasture, provided with a copious spring, that never dries up; and furnishes abundance for the use and refreshment of a whole flock. This then is the most natural one. The other is an abusive custom, and one of the grossest grievances of arbitrary power.”


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Severity

The art of appearing virtuous at a small expence. A serious deportment, modest looks, manners full of circumspection, an air that disconcerts a novice-lover, and serves for seasoning to an experienced one: a veil, under which the most refined coquettry is concealed. As this severity is often only matter of parade, it does its duty very ill in private. A fatal instant twitches off the mark, and in spite of all their precautions, the Fair have their unguarded moments: and whilst their tongues pronounce a negative, their eyes are in counter-sense to their words.


Modified text:
…and whilst their tongues pronounce a negative, their eyes are giving the affirmative
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Shame

Is one of their principal restraints, placed by nature and the world, to defend women by the apprehension of it, from doing silly things. A woman who knows her interest, will preserve at least the shadow of it, even in the instants she sends the substance of it a packing.

Are you not ashamed of yourself? said by a Fair-one, in certain circumstances, and with a certain tone, is a hint to proceed, which the shame would be not to understand.


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Shepherd, Swain

Terms synonymous to Lover, and borrowed from the country, to preserve at least, in the words, some idea of rural sincerity and innocence.


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A Simpleton

This is a term very often misapplied. The character of Wycherley's Country-Wife gives some idea of it; or at least of the danger of trusting one.

Some only feign a childish simplicity, a soft innocent ignorance, to take in the men, and act the simpleton, that they may catch simpletons. Some affect a silly demureness, that mama may not suspect them; others indeed, consistently enough with the term, blush at a double-entendre, by which they are simpletons enough to betray they are not such simpletons as not to have understood it.


Variant spelling:
mama | mamma A Dictionary of Love (1787)

Omitted text:
A Simpleton
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Sick, Sickness

I am sick with Love. Sure you cannot refuse to cure the pains you cause. — All this pretended sickness, and pain, never intrench [sic] an instant on the lover's pleasure. They never confine him to his room. He can, for all them, go to the plays, gardens, masquerades, and even to a bagnio. They are so little troublesome, that a lover would be sorry to be cured of this imaginary disorder, that amuses him so agreeably, and flatters so much the vanity of the women. In short, lover-sick and sham-sick are synonymous terms.

It were to be wished, that in the states of love there was no more real illness than of this sort; our youth would be less liable to disorders, that send them very seriously to consult the sons of Esculapius.


Modified text:
In short, love-sick and sham-sick are the same thing
A Dictionary of Love (1777)

Omitted text:
…are synonymous terms. It were to be wished, that in the states of love there was no more real illness than of this sort; our youth would be less liable to disorders, that send them very seriously to consult the sons of Esculapius.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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Sighs

Are useful interjections in the love-language. They are of special service to save the modest fair-one the pain of pronouncing those dreadful decisive words, I love you. They are very tiresome, however, when a languorous lover Vents only in deep signs him am'rous flame.

They are a very uncurrent coin, when employed by the men: thus, when a lover whines out, Cannot my sighs move you to pity me? he deserves to be pitied indeed!


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Slave

I am your slave; you use your slave too cruelly; signifies, “The more power I can make you believe you have over me, the more I shall gain over you.”


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Submissive

A submissive lover is a designing one: he plays the slave in order to become the master. All his submission and obedience only prove that he omits nothing that may pave him the way to absolute power in his turn. This is the old stale game, and not a jot the less successful for the being so.


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Sun

All comparisons of one's mistress to the sun, the starts, &c. are out of date. They are all so hackney'd out, that even poetry rejects them. One modern poet indeed has lately ventured to compare his mistress to the Sun, because, like him, she was a common benefit, and shone on all alike


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Swear

I swear, I protest to you that I will for ever be constant; should never be understood but with the following restrictions. “So long as you afford me lasting pleasure, so long as you can amuse me agreeably, and preserve your power to charm me; for otherwise the implicit contract is, in fact, void.”

This is both law and practice in Love. As soon as the object ceases to please, the love-correspondence drops of course. A respect to oaths is treated as a chimæra; pleasure is the life-hold of Love: and when pleasure ceases to exist, the court of conscience absolves the lover of all breach of them. Sappho, in the midst of her plaintive elegies on the inconstancy of her lover, admits that the Gods keep no register of lovers oaths. She knew so much before, and yet was the dupe of them. Women should imitate the Romans upon an occasion, when a noted lyar made them a promise, which he confirmed by the most terrible oath, the whole assembly of that people answered it, by yet a more terrible one, that they did not believe a word he said.


Modified text:
The Romans when a noted liar made them a promise, which he confirmed by the most terrible oath…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Sympathy

The weakest reasons are strong enough to determine a heart already disposed to love. This term then is employed with success to those young yeople who are properly prepared by the reading of romances.

It is, says an artful lover, a stroke sympathy that attaches me to you; something I cannot define, and feel nevertheless.

This signifies, “If I was to tell you the true reasons of my addressing you, they would but little affect you: perhaps too they would make against me. My best way is to have recourse to reason of sympathy, which are the more excellent, as they are susceptible of no explanation, and may be ranked in the class of the unaccountables, the nonsense of which is not the worst rhetoric in Love.”


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Tattle

He is nothing but a Tattle, means, First, that there is no safety with him. Secondly, that he talks too much to be solid performer. This is almost the worst character a man can have with the women.


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Tears

Can you disbelieve my tears? in the mouth of the Fair, signifies, “Tears are the eloquence of our sex; they move even the most insensible; can you then be more obdurate than others?”

This is a snare from which it is hard for a lover to get loose: for the women have an admirable talent at shedding of tears. The Spaniards have a proverb, Lagrimas das mugeres valin mucho, y cuestan poco. The tears of women avail them much, and cost them little.

When men employ tears, they have a great pathos. Some, however, have them at command, in which case they mean, “Since words alone will not do, perhaps tears may take you by the weak side of compassion. No actor could play his part better than I am now doing.”

Note, that this recourse to tears is seldom used: First, because the cruelty that extorts them is now-a-days is pretty much out of fashion. Secondly, they favour too much of the whining lover, which is but an insipid ridiculous character. A point of love is now oftener carried by laughing a woman out of her virtue, than by crying her eyes out of it.


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Tenderness

In the present system of Love, signifies especially the happy disposition of women to gallantry: Thus, when they say, You know my tenderness, it means, “I have too much vanity, interest, and self-love, not to keep you on the hooks with this bait. I should be sorry to lose an admirer, whom a profession of tenderness may keep on my lift.”


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TêTê-à-TêTê

See Assignation


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Toilette

A woman may admit a lover to her toilette, when she is sure of the effect of her charms. It is like the artful confidence of a secret, one is certain will do one honour. When a woman suffers herself to be surprized at her toilette, it is as much as to say, “I have, as to my beauty, a clear conscience: it is all honestly my own: and I am the more sure of doing execution with it, for its not having the air of murder propense.”

But when it comes to that dismal time of its being a necessity to make a face, the dressing-room door is well bolted till the operation is over. There is no secret better kept by the women than that of the toilette: it is even better kept than that of their intrigues.


Variant spelling:
propense | prepense A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Torments

Nothing can equal my torments, &c. This signifies, “There is in women a perversity, that makes them delight in thinking their lovers suffer a great deal of pain for them; and to tell them so, is taking them by their weak side: as to the reality, that is out of the question: but, as they are fond of such expressions, why not play them upon them? they deserve it.”

And, in this conclusion, the men are not quite in the wrong. There are none deserve less quarter, or fair play, than the tribe of teazers, for teazing-sake.

    They wrong their trust, who beauty misemploy,
    And turn to torment what was meant a joy.
    Ye Fair! who have from heav'n this gift receiv'd,
    Abuse it not: nor, by false pride deceiv'd,
    Affect a pleasure in a lover's pain,
    But court the merit of a gentle reign.
    Then if a wretch there is so void of sense,
    As to mis-use the favours you dispense,
    On him employ, relentless, every art,
    To soften or subdue the rebel heart:
    At war, with those who dare your triumphs brave,
    Humble the proud:— but spare the prostrate slave.

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To Toy

Love-toying, with delicacy and refinement, is the science of very few. It is the very sauce to enjoyment, and of course more relishing than the meat itself. It is the very girldle of Venus, which wives should, like Juno when she visited Jupiter on Mount Ida, know how to put on, upon proper occasions.


Omitted text:
To Toy
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Transports

I am no longer master of myself: I give way to my transports This said by a lover, whilst he throws himself at his mistress's feet, or tips her some other dangerous attitude, means, “Whatever impertinent caution your reason may suggest to you, I would have you rather believe my madness, &c.”

There is no entering into the infinite detail of all the effects, emotions, revolutions, that these affected transports may produce: be it sufficient to observe, that as they have a show of deliriousness, such as a violent fever exhibits, in a sick person, so when the fit is over, what has passed is as little remembered by the one as by the other.


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Troublesome

A troublesome lover is one of those antiquated lovers who exact delicacy, constancy, and attachment from their mistresses. He is almost as unreasonable as a fond husband, and as much out of the fashion. The present system of toleration on both sides, seems too commodious not to grow into an established one.


Omitted text:
He is almost as unreasonable as a fond husband, and as much out of the fashion. The present system of toleration on both sides, seems too commodious not to grow into an established one.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Truce

Truce, I beg you, good Sir, with your compliments. This phrase used by a woman who is immoderately praised, signifies, “I am insatiable upon the article of compliments; the way to make you continue them is to plead modesty, which will furnish you a new topic upon which to praise me.”


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Ugly

How ugly you are! only signifies, that in spite of myself I love you, and your person is out of the question, so I can by make a conquest of your heart!


Added text:
New word. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Unaccountable

It is the je ne sçai quoi of the French, and a term often used like fate, stars, destiny, &c The true sense of which is, when a woman will do what she will do; and instead of owning the ridiculousness of her passion for a worthless object, she pleads an unaccountable liking or impulse; and prefers renouncing her reason, and building a system on no foundation, to the painful task of controlling her inclination, and subordinating her heart to her duty.


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Unconstant

You are an unconstant. This reproach, well weighed, signifies, “My self-love is more flattered by imputing to you a fault, of which I am myself the cause, than if I was to tell myself that I have not charms enough to fix you.”

The truth is, that unconstancy is oftener a misfortune than a crime. A lover cannot always help it. He is innocent, because he is passive in it. Not to deserve inconstant, if not a cure, is at least a consolation.


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Undress

The Fair-one who meets her lover in a certain undress, or a studied negligence, shews plainly what she would be at. The olive-branch, or the white flag, are not more expressive signals in war, than this Undress is in Love. It speaks of itself, that she is not so streight-laced, that a ruffling would discompose her. The least experienced of lovers might feel that they have nothing but to take the field to make sure of their triumph. The victory waits but for their onset. A fair-one in this condition declares herself ready for the sacrifice to Venus. There wants nothing but the priest and the alter.


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Unfaithful

See Unconstant


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Union

Can you deny yourself the pleasure there is in the union of two hearts? means, “I am drawing you the luscious picture of Love, such as it was in times of yore, that I may disguise to you the present state of it, which might not serve my purposes so well.”


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Unjustice

To reproaches of unconstancy, the answer often is, You do me great unjustice. The meaning of which is, “It is true, I saunter, I flutter from beauty to beauty; but why should you find fault with me? it is the way of the world. Would you have me set up for a reformer of it? Pleasure is my property; and I have a right to take my own wherever I find it.”


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Vanity

Has brought more virtues to an untimely end, than any other vice. A woman, whose vanity is hurt by the apprehended desertion of a lover, to keep him, will very often take the very step which will bring on that desertion; and, in the loss of her virtue, rob her of all real foundation for vanity for the future.


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Verses

They were formerly in great vogue in Love: at present they are generally exploded. It is enough that a lover vents his nonsense in poetical prose.


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Virtue

In numbers of women, is no more than a regard for their reputation. A desire of raising the value of one's favours, and of inflaming, by teazing, the passion of a silly lover: the desire of acquiring esteem by resistance: the hopes of getting a husband: the disagreeableness of a gallant, his follies, or indiscretions: a natural coolness. All, or some of these, compose the essence of virtue in the greatest part of the women.

Who is the most virtuous of women? (says a modern author) she who by constitution is the most amorous, and by reason the most chaste.


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Virginity

See Maidenhood


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Wants

Women of little experience are apt to mistake the urgency of bodily wants, for the violences of a delicate passion; and sometimes are betrayed into this favourable construction by their own exigencies, which do not suffer them to stand examining motives too nicely.

In this case, the appetite is a coarse feeder, that does not stay to pick its bits, but takes the readiest, with a voraciousness that proves more the necessity than the pleasure of the meal. The hunger is all the sauce.


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Who Knows but he may marry me at last?

A common term, or at least a common thought of girls, who have seen little of the world. It is the usual conclusion of those soliloquies which love, supported by vanity, engages them to make. A man of condition, rich, and struck with the charms of a young person, addresses her, and soon finds the way to her heart. He makes proposals to her, and promises in course. The young creature, full of the prejudices of a virtuous education, tho' poor, rejects them at first. The gallant then sets himself to work to dissipate her fears, and vanquish her scruples. Letters, presents, and especially some female intriguer, who talks all the while of honour, whilst she is labouring to undermine the principles of it, are employed to turn the girl's head, and induce her to accept a lodging well furnished, and a table well kept. The reflexions of the young creature disturb this happiness, she declares she had rather return to her needlework than live in infamy. Then the difficulties and inconveniences of marrying, at least for the present, are pleaded, and at length believed. The girl returns to her old seducing thought, Who knows but he may at last marry me? which had before prevailed, and tranquillizes herself, “I am adored, says she to herself; I am adorable. So much pains, so many rich presents, are sure proofs of my lover's sincerity: then he is so fine a gentleman: would he deceive me? Why should I despair of my fortune? Why should not I grace a coronet as well as another? Have I less charms than lady such an one, who jumped out of the street into a title and a coach?”

But soon the scene changes, and the illusion vanishes; when my Lord, satisfied with having taken with her the copy of a marriage, proceeds to finish an original one with some lady of fortune or rank equal to his own, or, what is worse, changes one copy for another. Then the Who Knows is converted to rants of madness and despair. Then succeed the exclamations of Traitor, Villain, and the like, till Madam, now wiser at her own expence, acquiesces in the ordinary course of things, and suppresses the Who Knows for ever.


Modified text:
…till Madam, now wiser at her own expence, is under the melancholy necessity to acquiesce in the ordinary course of things, and condems most heartily her own folly and credulity
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Winning

How winning you are! The English of this I, How weak am I!


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Wish

I wish I could love you, in the mouth of a fair one, signifies, “I actually do love you.”

I wish I could hate you, signifies precisely the same as above.


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Wit

The wit of these times consists in a defiance of common-sense, a licentious impertinence. Its chief employment is to put off false sentiments for true ones: to carry off the most worthless proceedings with an air of triumph in them: to ruin women, to debauch the wife or sister of a bosom friend: to feign a love one never felt. In short, it makes many comedians in love, and not one true lover.

The primitive acceptation of this term was an honourable one. A wit was formerly a character of worth and solidity. It supposed a refined, shining understanding: one who had the courage to think before he spoke or wrote: who stuck to the standard of reason and propriety. But this was too grave a character to maintain long its estimation. Such as yet adhere to it, are called, in derision, Philosophers, and are very little valued by the men, and not at all by the women, who look on them as odd, sober, insipid personages.

Opposed to these is another species of wits, who are now in high reign. Every thing with them is lively, sparkling and frothy. These are the idols of the women, and are by them preferred to all except to moneyed men, whose substantial eloquence out-cuts even the powerful charms of their nonsense.


Modified text:
…to pretend a love that was never felt
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Women

Women compose the world's necessary half. Their destination is to please, to be lovely, and to be loved. Nothing can compensate to them their failure in these points. They are the very constituent ones of their happiness.

The eastern nations, who confine them in a sort of prison they call seraglios, avoid none of the inconveniencies which their conversation may produce. They are themselves often the slaves of one particular woman who strikes their fancy, and they deprive themselves of the joys of a freedom of passion.

Those who do not love them are yet more blameable than those who love them too much.

There is no definition can reach them. Every man's experience must be his interpreter of them; but this may be said with great justice of them, that far the greatest part of them incite their lovers to all that is virtuous and honourable. No woman worth loving ever loved a coward or an abject villain. It is generally the fault of the men when a commerce with them becomes pernicious or dishonourable.


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Yellow

The yellow jaundice in Love. See Jealousy.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Yielding

The great art of yielding consists in studying well before-hand the time, place, person, and above all, the consequences.


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Youth

All the eloquence of the Cicero's and Demosthenes' is not equal to the natural eloquence of youth. The glare of it blinds one to its faults. Its privileges are numberless. There is no atonement or compensation received in Love for the want of it. It is the greatest merit, and often the only one, that is required to succeed. No wonder then that women take such pains to preserve the appearance of it, long after the substance is departed. In vain: there is no retrieving, nor repairing it. There is no second bloom in nature, not procurable by art. The attempting it is a joke, and a stale one: yet women are fools enough to have the rage of giving their decline a new ridicule, by their for ever fruitless endeavors to conceal it.


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Zeal

This term, more poetical than prosaic, signifies much the same as Love, Ardour, Passion, Flame, &c. to which we refer.


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The Virgin Zone

Whatever stuff this zone was made of, which the virgins of antient times wore about their waists, it is at present so lightly wove, that it is apt to give way at the least touch.