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Jean Honoré Fragonard, The Visit to the Nursery (c. 1775).[n 1]

Learned borrowing from Ancient Greek στοργή (storgḗ, affection, love (especially of parents and children)),[1][2] from στέργω (stérgō, to love (chiefly of non-sexual affection); to show affection) (from Proto-Indo-European *sterg- (to cover; to protect)) + (, suffix forming action nouns).



storge (uncountable)

  1. Natural affection or love, especially of parents for their children.
    • 1600 (first performance), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Cynthias Revels, or The Fountayne of Selfe-Loue. []”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: [] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, →OCLC, Act V, scene vii (the first masque), pages 257–258:
      [The virgins] haue choſen to expreſſe their ſeuerall qualities, thus in ſeuerall colours. The firſt, in citron colour, is natural affection, vvhich giuen vs to procure our good, is ſomtime called Storge, and as euery one is neereſt to himſelfe, ſo this hand-maid of reaſon, allovvable ſelfe-loue, as it is vvithout harme, ſo are none vvithout it: []
    • 1688 September (date written), Henry More, “The Use and Interpretation of Love and Hatred; which are in the Second Classis”, in R. W. [pseudonym; Edward Southwell], transl., An Account of Virtue: Or, Dr. Henry More’s Abridgment of Morals, Put into English, London: [] Benj[amin] Tooke, published 1690, →OCLC, book I, paragraph IV, pages 63–64:
      VVherefore as this Love has reference to Propagation; ſo Storge, or Natural Tenderneſs, referreth chiefly to Children that are begot. And if more of the Storge appear in Parents, than vvhat is reciprocal; it ſhevvs, this Paſſion is implanted by Nature, as others, to a greater Degree, or a leſs, ſuitable to the Uſe or VVant there may be thereof.
    • 1789, [Erasmus Darwin], The Botanic Garden; a Poem, in Two Parts. [], London: J[oseph] Johnson, [], published 1791, →OCLC, part II (The Loves of the Plants; 3rd edition), footnote, page 6:
      As ſoon as the ſeeds are formed, it [the American cowslip (Primula sect. Dodecatheon)] erects all the flovver-ſtalks to prevent them from falling out; and thus loſes the beauty of its figure. Is this a mechanical effect, or does it indicate a vegetable ſtorgé to preſerve its offspring?
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, “A Pedigree and Other Family Matters”, in The History of Pendennis. [], volume I, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849, →OCLC, page 20:
      I saw a Jewish lady, only yesterday, with a child at her knee, and from whose face towards the child there shone a sweetness so angelical, that it seemed to form a sort of glory round both. I protest I could have knelt before her too, and adored in her the Divine beneficence in endowing us with the maternal storgē, which began with our race and sanctifies the history of mankind.
    • [1960, C[live] S[taples] Lewis, “Affection”, in The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles, →OCLC, page 42:
      The Greeks called this love storge (two syllables and the g is "hard"). I shall here call it simply Affection. My Greek Lexicon defines storge as "affection, especially of parents to offspring"; but also of offspring to parents. The image we must start with is that of a mother nursing a baby, a bitch or a cat with a basketful of puppies or kittens; all in a squeaking, nuzzling heap together; purrings, lickings, baby-talk, milk, warmth, the smell of young life.]
    • 1997, Robert A[ubrey] Hinde, “Love and Romantic Relationships”, in Relationships: A Dialectal Perspective, Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press Publishers, Erlbaum (UK) Taylor & Francis, →ISBN, part D (Friendship and Love), page 434:
      [John Alan] Lee (1973), on the basis of interviews with adults about their love relationships, postulated three primary love styles—Eros, Ludus, and Storge. These could be combined to form three further styles, Mania (eros and ludus), Pragma (ludus and storge), and Agape (storge and eros). [] [T]hose "in love now" endorsed eros, storge, mania, and agape more strongly, and ludus less strongly, than those not in love.
    • 2012, Claire Kimberly, Jason D. Hans, “Love Styles and Their Role in Relationships”, in Michele E. Paludi, editor, The Psychology of Love, volume II (Emotion and Romance), Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, →ISBN, page 159:
      Unlike the eros and ludus love styles, storge lovers emphasize companionship and compatibility over physical attraction. Also known as the friendship style of love, storge lovers are typically characterized as being honest and loyal with a desire to develop a relationship rather than spontaneously fall into one [].


Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ From the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.


  1. ^ storge, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.
  2. ^ storge, n.”, in Collins English Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]