A word I simply don't recall hearing - Limerence

**Limerence **- basically a feeling of infatuated obsession.

Came across it in this Sunday’s NYTimes Modern Love column. Don’t recall ever hearing it or reading it. Interesting.

Did a search. It’s been used in 25 threads.


Of course, it stands to reason. Perhaps I should change my username :wink:

There’s a book about it. Came out in 1979.

Love and Limerence

From an amazon reader review:

Hmmm… thanks for this timely post. I read this book when it came out, but I think I need to read it again…

I bet you’ll hear it two more times before the end of the week.

At breakfast tomorrow, the word will most likely appear somewhere on your cereal box.

Looking at the etymology, the base word is listed as an arbitrary syllable. So the author didn’t even try the time honored route of Latin or Greek origins? Just made it up and it doesn’t mean anything or sound like anything pertinent? Man I hate that. A word is supposed to mean something, I’m pretty pretisentially sure


Sounds like a cromulent word to me.

Thank you for my word of the day. I’d never heard it!

I’ve done crosswords for … a lot of years.

I still come across new-to-me words fairly often. Since these are random occurences (I think), they seem to cluster more than you would naively expect. So a long time with no new ones then 2 or 3 close together.

Not only is “limerence”* new to me, it’s both nice sounding and has a good meaning.

  • And it’s not in my browser’s spellcheck. Then again, it doesn’t have USB and tons of common computer terms…:smack:

And speaking of words, there is a word for that experience (suddenly encountering a word/concept you’d never known about before several times in quick succession).

I heard it once, said “damn, that’s a useful word” and promptly forgot it. Alas, I did not experience whatever-it’s-called with that word, so it is now lost to me. Does anyone else know it? I promise that if you tell me, I’ll remember it this time.

I had a girlfriend in HS who used that word describing her attraction to me. There were other words when she dumped me.
Edit: This was in 1973.

They Might Be Giants: Contracoup

It uses the word “limerent” but close enough.

Sounds a little like an Irish version of Liberace.

This comes on the heels of my learning that “khatru” is a word that prog rock band Yes apparently made up for the title of “Siberian Khatru”, the last song on the “Close to the Edge” album.

Dude, Thursday I watched an old (from September) episode of a show called “Adam Ruins Everything” and this word was in that show and I had never heard of it either! And now here you are making a thread about it!!

What’s the word for when you learn a new word and then someone posts a SDMB thread about it after they learn the word from a different source?

Never heard or read it before this thread. I can understand why.

  1. It really adds very little to the language that “infatuation” doesn’t.

  2. It’s a shitty sounding word. If you asked 100 well read English-speaking people who hadn’t encountered the word yet (like me) what they guessed “limerence” meant, I bet not a single one would guess “infatuation.” It doesn’t sound like it would mean that.

  3. The word was just invented in 1979 (and by its inventor’s admission, has no etymological rationale behind it, hence #2 above) so it has little history or literary reference to breathe air into it.

Words sometimes get into vogue again. This one won’t last.

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

It’s Reince Priebus’s full name.


To me, the word has a creepier edge to it than “infatuation”. Limerence seems like something a stalker would have toward his or her object of unwilling affection.