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Let’s talk about love

by Stephen Andrews (単語・表現リスト by Shigeri Nishide)

It’s Valentine’s Day on 14th February and love is in the air*.

In Britain, people celebrate the day by giving their partner a card, flowers (preferably a big bunch of red roses), a gift, or by going out for dinner.

So, with everyone’s thoughts turning to romance, let’s take a look at the language of love, with some words and phrases you might hear everyday.

Feeling flirty?

If you “fancy” someone, or have a “crush” on them, it means you like that person and find them very attractive. To get to know them better, you might “flirt”, which means getting to know them by chatting in a light-hearted* way. This is also known as “chatting up”.

Sometimes, you might experience “love at first sight” – when you feel an instant attraction. Then you might fall “head over heels” in love, which is when you can’t stop thinking about them. Another, more colloquial*, way of saying this is that you “have the hots” for that person.

When you start a relationship, you both might get all “lovey-dovey” and act like “little love birds” which means getting affectionate and doing romantic things together. If you get on really, really well, then you’re a “match made in heaven” – and that person is the “apple of your eye” – your perfect partner.

Talking to your other half

In Britain, your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend is often called your “other half” – and there are lots of words you can use to express your affection towards them.

A popular one is “sweetheart” – as in “I love you, sweetheart”. There’s also the more colloquial “sweetie” used in sentences like “Sweetie, do you want to go out tonight?”

How about “honey?” Very popular in the States of course, in Britain it’s sometimes abbreviated to “hun” as in “Hi, hun!”

If you’re in Essex (east of London) you’ll hear “babes” quite a lot, often at the end of sentences such as “Fancy going to a club tonight, babes?”

Baby” – as in “Baby, I adore you” – is also a playful way of addressing someone you’re fond of.

Dear” is very popular. It’s one of the most commonly used words for addressing a loved one. But it can also be used more generally for friends or acquaintances – as in “Hello, dear” or “She’s such a dear”.

Darling”, while it usually refers to a romantic partner, is also a word that you might hear when someone greets you, for example: “Hello, darling.”

The same applies to “love”. Your partner might be your “Love” but you can also say: “Alright, love?” when you meet a friend. If you’re out shopping, a shop assistant will often say, “Thank you, love” when they serve you. (By the way, this can also be spelled as “Luv”.)

In the North of England “pet” is used a lot, in for instance, “How are you, pet?” and “petal” as in “What did you say, petal?”

If you’re in the South West of England in places like Devon or Cornwall, you might hear the phrase “my lover”. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that they think you’re their lover! It’s simply a local greeting, as in: “Good evening, me* lover!”

And if you’re going to Scotland, don’t be surprised to hear someone call a female friend, “hen”. For example, “Fancy going out with me tonight, hen?”

Let’s get hitched

If you hear someone say they’re about to “tie the knot”, it means they’ve proposed to their other half and are going to get married – sometimes also called “getting hitched”.

Lots of love

So there are some handy words to fall in love with! Why not try using them on Valentine’s Day with that special person in your life?



love is in the air: バレンタインデーのように、あそこにも、ここにもデート中のカップルがいるような状態を表したり、恋の予感が漂っている雰囲気を表す表現。もし、人の恋愛の気持ちや恋心がハートマークとして目に見えるとすると、空気中にハートマークが漂っている感じ。

light-hearted : シリアスな感じではなく、明るい感じの

colloquial : 日常会話的な、 口語の

me: イギリスでは、地域や人によって、myをmeということがある


fancy : ‘I fancy him.’のように人をfancyするという時の意味:(その人を恋愛相手として)好きだと思う

have a crush : 好きで夢中になる(普通、片思いの場合に使う)

flirt : 少しふざけた感じで思わせぶりな態度で楽しく話したりする

chat up: flirtに近い意味。気があることがわかるようにおしゃべりする・口説く

love at first sight: ひと目惚れ

head over heels: 好きで好きでしょうがない、夢中

have the hots: 恋愛対象として、とても好き(インフォーマル)

lovey-dovey: イチャイチャ、アツアツな

little love birds: アツアツなカップル

match made in heaven: 最高に相性が良い理想的なカップル

the apple of your eye: 理想的で最高のパートナー

other half: 恋人や結婚した相手、パートナー

tie the knot: 結婚する

get hitched: 結婚する

以下は、恋人や結婚相手に 呼びかける時に使う表現(名前の代わりに使う表現)で、男女ともに使えます。






dear, darling, love

pet, petal (イギリス北部でよく使われる)

my lover (イギリス南西部で使われる)

hen (スコットランドで女性の友達に使われる)

このブログにはありませんが、私が以前住んでいた家のお隣さんは、treacle(ハチミツのような黒い食べ物)を使う人のようで、顔を合わせると’Alright, treacle?’と言っていました。また、アメリカではpumpkinやpumpkin pieもよく聞きます。


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