make love

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From make + love, calque of Old Occitan far amor, Middle French faire l'amour.


make love (third-person singular simple present makes love, present participle making love, simple past and past participle made love)

  1. (archaic) To make amorous approaches (to); to woo, romance, court. [from 16th c.]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:woo
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book VI, Canto XI”, in The Faerie Queene. [], part II (books IV–VI), London: [] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, →OCLC, stanza 7, page 494:
      So from thenceforth, when loue he to her made, / VVith better tearmes ſhe did him entertaine, / VVhich gaue him hope, and did him halfe perſvvade, / That he iunb time her ioyaunce ſhould obtaine.
    • 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter XV, in Emma: [], volume I, London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC, page 275:
      [S]carcely had they passed the sweep-gate and joined the other carriage, than she found her subject cut up–her hand seized–her attention demanded, and Mr. Elton actually making violent love to her: availing himself of the precious opportunity, declaring sentiments which must already be well known, []
    • 1878, Henry James, chapter VIII, in The Europeans[1], Macmillan and Co.:
      About a week afterwards she said to him, point-blank, “Are you seriously making love to your little cousin?”
    • 1910, Saki [pseudonym; Hector Hugh Munro], “The Baker’s Dozen”, in Reginald in Russia and Other Sketches, London: Methuen & Co. [], →OCLC, page 107:
      After all, the chief charm is in the fact of being made love to. You are making love to me, aren't you?
    • 1914, Elinore Pruitt Stewart, Letters of a Woman Homesteader, Houghton Mifflin Company, pages 3–4:
      The first stage we tackled was just about as rickety as it could very well be and I had to sit with the driver, who was a Mormon and so handsome that I was not a bit offended when he insisted on making love all the way, especially after he told me that he was a widower Mormon.
    • 1941, W[illiam] Somerset Maugham, Up at the Villa, Vintage, published 2004, page 24:
      ‘Ever since I was sixteen men have been making love to me.’
    • 1946, It's a Wonderful Life, spoken by Mary Hatch (Donna Reed):
      He's making violent love to me, Mother.
    • 1953, C.S.Lewis, The Silver Chair, page 107:
      ... she began making a tour of the whole castle and asking questions, but all in such an innocent, babyish way that no one could suspect her of any secret design. (...) She made love to everyone - the grooms, the porters, the housemaids, the ladies-in-waiting ...
  2. (euphemistic) To engage in sexual intercourse. [from 1950s]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:copulate
    • 1966, Bob Dylan (lyrics and music), “Just Like a Woman”, in Blonde on Blonde:
      She takes just like a woman, yeah she does / She makes love just like a woman, yeah she does
    • 1974, “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, performed by Roberta Flack:
      I feel like makin' love to you / That's the time / I feel like makin' dreams come true
    • 1974, “Can't Get Enough of Your Love”, performed by Barry White:
      There's many times that we've loved / We've shared love and made love / It doesn't seem to me like it's enough
    • 1977, “Wake Up And Make Love With Me”, in New Boots and Panties!!, performed by Ian Dury:
      Wake up and make love with me, wake up and make love / Wake up and make love with me / I don't want to make you, I'll let the fancy take you / And you'll wake up and make love
    • 1995 March 22, “Seinfeld with Madonna? 'Cosmo' reveals sex fantasies”, in The Arizona Republic:
      Actress Dana Delany fantasizes about making love with two men.
    • 2003 October 27, Alan Jackson (lyrics and music), “Remember When”, in Greatest Hits Volume II (Promo-only CD single), performed by Alan Jackson:
      We made love and then you cried

Derived terms[edit]