Why “love” is in the name of certain things
The word “love” is used in the names of lots of different things from animals to athletics. How did this happen? What does love have to do with any of them, and are they really lovely things?
“Love” in tennis
What does “love” mean in tennis anyway? It means having a score of zero. A score of 15 – love means the second player hasn’t scored any points, yet. So why don’t they just say zero instead of love? Aside from certain players (You know who you are!), tennis has long been known as a sport steeped in etiquette and sportsmanship. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the use of “love” might have arisen out of the sport’s mutual congeniality and that the players play “for love” of the game or perhaps that playing “for love” with zero points means playing “without stakes being wagered”. Some think love became a part of tennis because the word is easily confused with the French world l’oeuf, which means “egg” because a zero resembles an egg.
Most popular in rural communities, any road that is secluded in nature with a beautiful view where a number of cars can pull over and park can be called “Lover’s Lane” regardless of what the real name of the road is. It’s a code name for a place where people can go to be romantic and enjoy the weather. In cities, sometimes it’s a road overlooking the skyline. Lover’s Lanes are most common in areas where car travel is high, so you’re not likely to find one in New York City. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the term Lover’s Lane was in 1853.
Tunnel of Love
Back in the days when public displays of affection were frowned upon, “mill rides” as they were called gave lovers a socially acceptable opportunity to cling to and kiss each other away from scolding stares. All amusement park mill rides paired two people in a boat that wound its way through a dark tunnel system that featured either romantic images like cupids and swans or scary ones such as skeletons and vampires. Either way, it gave the riders an opportunity to huddle together. One of the most famous, Garfield’s Nightmare, opened at Kennywood Park in Pennsylvania in 1901. Over time, as the stigma against public affection began to wane, so did the appeal of the Tunnel of Love.
A loving cup is any shared drinking vessel with a handle on each side. It gets its name from most often being used at weddings and banquets. Steeped in European culture, two famous examples are the Celtic Quaich and the French coupe de mariage. Loving cups can be made from any substance, but they’re most commonly made from silver. Because of their often grand or ornate appearance, they’re used as trophies for many international sporting events. Today, the Indy 500 and Kentucky Derby trophies are two examples of versions of the loving cup.
Yes, love birds are real birds. It isn’t just an endearment for two people in love. Mostly found in Africa, but also in places like Arizona and California, love birds mate for life. If their partner dies or gets separated from the flock, the remaining partner exhibits erratic behavior some scientists have likened to depression. They make great pets, but only if raised from very young, and don’t like being left alone. Met in the wild, they can be territorial and aggressive. To reduce the stress from being separated for long periods of time and to re-establish their bond, the birds feed each other much the same way human lovers might feed each other chocolates or other rich foods.
The “true lover’s knot” or love knot is actually two intertwining knots that come together to form one connection symbolizing the bond between two people either in love or friendship. Sailors separated from their wives often used them, and it was common to have wedding rings fashioned in the shape of a love knot, as well. Ancient customs taught that if two young lovers tied the thin branches of a tree into a love knot and it held; their love would last.
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