from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One truly loved or loving; one whose love is pledged to another; a sweetheart.
  • n. A plant of Europe and temperate Asia, Paris quadrifolia: so named because its four leaves are set together in the form of a heraldic true-love knot.
  • n. A condiment for sweetening the breath.
  • n. An ornament, probably shaped like a true-love knot.
  • adj. Indicating genuine love; affectionate; sincere.


  • Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer / For therby wende he to ben gracious.

    ‘Miler’s Tale,’ Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer

  • He was sitting in his room waiting for the town clock to strike four, because when it did he had to go out and meet his truelove, whose name was Edith Plush.

    Daisy Ashford: Her Book, by Angela Ashford

  • Each [girl] must take as many hairs from her head as she is years old, and having put them into a linen cloth with some of the herb truelove, as soon as the clock strikes one she must burn every hair separately, saying - 'I offer this my sacrifice To him most precious in my eyes; I charge thee now come forth to me, That I this minute may thee see.' Upon which her future husband will appear and walk round the room and then vanish.

    English Folk-Rhymes, by G.F. Northall


The sense, 'a condiment for sweetening the breath,' comes from Chaucer’s 'Canterbury Tales,' and may to refer a breath sweetening virtue of the truelove herb.