from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun neologism An involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by Dorothy Tennov, Professor of Psychology (Emeritus), University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Circa 1977. The coinages are arbitrary; there is no specific etymology.


  • What's particularly interesting about limerence is its etymology, or lack thereof, as explained in this quote from Dorothy Tennov, the word's inventor:1977 Observer 11 Sept. 3/9, I first used the term ‘amorance' then changed it back to ‘limerence'... LIMERENT.

  • This doesn't mean he won't fool around with men when it's socially demanded, or when it's convenient, because let's face it, he's an eighteen-year-old man in a homosocial society and honey, any port in a storm (so to speak) -- but to me at least it's pretty obvious that all his limerence is directed at women.

    Criminal Minds 4x22 and 4x23

  • She coined limerence to describe this state, and wrote in The Observer in 1977 that the word was entirely her own.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Reader James Arthur, responding to a recent column about the philtrum and Cupid's bow both references to the upper lip, passes along the lovely word limerence.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Previous research suggested that the first stages of romantic love, a rollercoaster ride of mood swings and obsessions that psychologists call limerence, start to fade within 15 months.

    Teach Me Tonight

  • Underscoring the depth of her limerence was the follow-up medley of "Ain't nothing like the real thing/You make me feel like a natural woman."

    Epinions Recent Content for Home

  • It contradicts a previous study suggesting that passionate love peters out in 15 months, after going through a roller coaster ride, called 'limerence' in psychological parlance.

    IBN Top Headlines

  • Scanning the brains of people who have been together for 20 years, the scientists found that about one in 10 couples still display elements of "limerence", the psychologists 'term for the obsessive behaviour of new lovers.

    The Seventh Sense

  • Psychologist Dorothy Tennov devoted her career studying this experience, and labeled this passionate form limerence.

    Leslie Davenport: The Health Benefits of Love: A Meditation for Deepening Connections

  • Whether you are structuring old love or new love these markers that characterize the progression of a developing romance and are tied to this notion of limerence.

    How To Be A Man In The Romance Market | The Creative Penn


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Limerence Read this word for the first time recently and made the immediate link with liminal, a link that gives instant depth to the limeral experience.

    August 20, 2012

  • "Jolted is funny and smart and fast paced. And it's written with real love for that fascinating liminal creature called the young teenager, for whom the sky is always just about to fall."

    Tim Wynne-Jones; Electrifying; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Sep 13, 2008.

    Change liminal to limeral (back formation from limerance) and would you detect any difference in meaning?. Tennov's claim to lack of etymology doesn't hold water - the source is within her own mind, apparently censored by the substitution of -er- for -in- and the obfuscating suffix -ance.

    February 13, 2012

  • Possibly. Try it in a complete sentence. Also, have a look at the examples to the right, above.

    Edit Oops. I meant “right”, I typed “left”. Corrected.

    October 9, 2011

  • highschool limerence. Is this the right way to use this?

    October 9, 2011

  • The initial exhilarating rush of falling in love; the state of "being in love".

    May 21, 2008

  • In 1977 D. Tennov, who coined the word, said "I first used the term 'amorance' then changed it back to 'limerence'... It has no roots whatsoever. It looks nice. It works well in French. Take it from me it has no etymology whatsoever."

    November 7, 2007