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Re: "Falling" in Love

Posted by R. Berg on February 28, 2003

In Reply to: Re: "Falling" in Love posted by ESC on February 28, 2003

: : : : : Why "falling"? It strikes me as such an ugly way to describe the phenomenon. Surely there must be a more pleasant way--any ideas?

: : : : I have heard the expression "falling" to mean a woman has become pregnant. But I'm guessing that "falling in love" has to do with this expression:

: : : : FALL HEAD OVER HEELS - "To be won over or enter an activity so thoroughly as to be almost helpless. The head is normally over the heels, so the term would seem to make more sense as 'heels over head,' and indeed that is what it was. As early as the 14th century it appeared as 'hele ouer hed' in a poem (quoted much later in 'Early English Alliterative Poems). The 'Oxford English Dictionary' says the modern version is 'a corruption of heels over head.'." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

: : : : I feel an Elvis song coming on...

: : : : Can't Help Falling In Love

: : : : Wise men say only fools rush in
: : : : but I can't help falling in love with you
: : : : Shall I stay
: : : : would it be a sin
: : : : If I can't help falling in love with you

: : : : Like a river flows surely to the sea
: : : : Darling so it goes
: : : : some things are meant to be
: : : : take my hand, take my whole life too
: : : : for I can't help falling in love with you

: : : : Like a river flows surely to the sea
: : : : Darling so it goes
: : : : some things are meant to be
: : : : take my hand, take my whole life too
: : : : for I can't help falling in love with you
: : : : for I can't help falling in love with you

: : : Under "fall" as a verb, the OED classifies "fall in love" with some other phrases, such as "fall asleep" and "fall into laughter." The definition for that sense of "fall" is "To pass suddenly, accidentally, or in the course of events, into a certain condition."

: : Thanks to you both for the information. I still don't like "fall", though. It has some pretty awful connotations, e. g., the fall of Lucifer, falling from grace, et c., and we certainly don't need any more aspersions on romantic love and its happy constituent, sex. More-over, "falling in love" makes love seem like some kind of feculent morass that one would rather avoid. In short, I'm still hoping for a more exalted and exalting phrase.

:
: TO FALL IN LOVE - "To be sexually attracted to a person; to become very fond of a thing. 'Fall' here did not originally have the present sense of dropping from a higher state to a lower, but of passing suddenly from one state to another." From "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition).

My old paperback Roget's offers "set one's affections on" and "make much of." These sound quaint, as does the traditional "struck by Cupid's arrow," which involves violence and therefore probably won't please you any better than those images of helpless collapse and feculent morasses.