carry a torch for
From the metaphor of a burning flame, to keep a fire burning.
The association of a torch with love may date to the Greek and Roman tradition of a wedding torch, lit in the bride’s hearth on her wedding night, then used to light the hearth in her new home. Such a torch is associated with the Greek god of marriage Hymenaios.
Audio (AU) (file)
- (idiomatic) To love or to be romantically infatuated with, especially when such feelings are not reciprocated.
- 1941, Nelson Shawn (lyrics), James Caesar Petrillo and Edward Ross (music), “Jim”:
- Someday, I know that Jim will up and leave me / But even if he does you can believe me / I'll go on carryin' the torch for Jim / I'll go on lovin' my Jim
- Often used to characterize a situation in which a romantic relationship has ended, but where one partner still loves the other.
- Considered by some to be dated, but still in wide usage.