from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Archaic A sweetheart; a lover.
  • n. Archaic A mistress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One beloved; a lover, a sweetheart of either sex (especially a secret lover, gallant, or mistress).
  • n. A paramour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sweetheart, of either sex; a gallant, or a mistress; -- usually in a bad sense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is dear; a person beloved.
  • n. A sweetheart of either sex; a gallant or a mistress: often in a bad sense; a paramour.


Middle English leofman, lemman : leof, dear (from Old English lēof; see leubh- in Indo-European roots) + man, man; see man.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English lemman, from Middle English leofman, from Old English lēof +‎ mann, equivalent to lief +‎ man ("beloved person"). (Wiktionary)



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  • a sweetheart or lover; Middle English origin

    February 28, 2009