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See also: Philerast


Alternative forms[edit]


From Ancient Greek φιλεραστής (philerastḗs), from φίλ(ος) (phíl(os), dear”, “friend) or φιλ(έω) (phil(éō), I love) + ἐραστής (erastḗs, lover) (compare the English cognates phil- + erast(es)); φιλεραστής (philerastḗs) was used by Plato in his Symposium as an alternative to ἐρώμενος (erṓmenos, eromenos), to imply greater equitability and reciprocity and to avoid the latter term’s denotational passivity.



philerast (plural philerasts)

  1. (chiefly in historical usage pertaining to Ancient Greece) A boy who feels philia or more specifically anterōs, for his paederastic lover.
    • 1924: Plato et alii, Symposium, page 40
      When in turn they reach man’s estate they love youths themselves[; i]n general terms such people are either paiderasts or philerasts, being always attracted by kindred kind. But when a boy-lover, or any other, chances to meet his own original half, they are both seized with an ecstasy of affection and intimacy and love, and can hardly bear to be separated for as much as a single instant from each other.
    • 1990: David M. Halperin, One hundred years of homosexuality: and other essays on Greek love, page 20
      [] “while they are still boys [i.e., pubescent or pre-adult], they are fond of men, and enjoy lying down together with them and twining their limbs about them, . . . but when they become men they are lovers of boys. . . . Such a man is a paederast and philerast [i.e., fond of or responsive to adult male lovers]” at different stages of his life []
    • 1997: “Leo”, uk.politics.misc (Google group): Broome House: Paedophiles, the 31st day of August at 8 o’clock a.m.
      [The Ancient Greeks] also had a word which can be rendered ‘philerast’, meaning a boy who loves his lover.
    • 2005: Thomas H. Luxon, Single Imperfection: Milton, Marriage, and Friendship, page 140
      Milton strained to redefine marriage as the friendship Socrates recommended — an erotics beyond the sexual. As a result, his notion of marriage sometimes looks a lot like a heteroerotic paederasty, with Adam as the paederast and Eve the philerast destined never to outgrow the role of student and beloved.
    • For more examples of the usage of this term see this entry’s citations page as well as the citations page for philerast.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In the intended meaning, the form of love (anterōs) which a philerast feels for his erastes emphatically does not derive from sexual desire (although it may have a physical component).[1]


Derived terms[edit]