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May I have a word: All you need is ‘love’?

With all due respect to the Fab Four, readers offer alternative words for those times when the mot juste just isn’t a declaration from the heart.

Beatles memorabilia, records, rare photographs, tour artifacts, instruments, and more at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2015.Lauren Gerson, LBJ Library Photo

Last time, the challenge was to come up with “a word for the kind of love that isn’t the LOVE that we feel for our family and best friends but the kind we feel for things we say we love.”

Josh Simons, of Sharon, took issue with this challenge. He wrote: “I don’t think a new word is needed in this case, just a recalibration. The letter writer ADORES her kids — she loves them deeply. She can merely LOVE her belongings without cheapening her feelings for her children. Sometimes existing words can serve the requested purpose.”

Josh, Josh, Josh. How is that going to make for an entertaining column? Besides, it’s not as if there’s any consensus that adoration is a stronger emotion than love. Mark Sheldon, of Burlington, for one, considers love supreme. He wrote: “Here’s a stab at a word for things we admire, adore, where love is too strong a word. It’s a cross between admire, adorable, and amore (Italian for love): ad-amore-able.”

Jacqueline Lynch, of Marblehead, also believes that love conquers all. For stuff we love, she came up with “maxadore: adore to the max(imum).” And the usage examples she added, which I love? adore?, demonstrate that either she leads a life fit for Zsa Zsa Gabor or she has a lively imagination: ‘Dahlink, I simply maxadore your new outfit. And I maxadored the pecan-stuffed sardines you brought to bridge last week.”


Paul McGillicuddy, of Malden, proposed the somewhat naughty-sounding objexual, “meaning love/desire for objects.” And Howard Morris, of Needham, wrote: “The word could be quasilove or qualove. Qualove is short and sweet, easier to say. It’s a tough choice. Can I submit both?”

Norm Quesnel, of Framingham, also had two suggestions: “Preesh — a shortened/phonetic form of appreciate, which is what I think this kind of one-direction love really is. But if that’s not a strong enough term for these feelings, then smitfor — combines smitten by and long for. Not the prettiest word, but love is blind!”


And here’s an idea, from Barbara Leventhal, of Raynham, that kind of came out of nowhere, but I like it all the same: “I would like s’amour, please.”

Well, I’m going with preesh. This feeling is on its face lesser than love, the word seems as if it could easily slip into our slang vocabulary, and the explanation its coiner gave us strikes me as kind of profound. Norm Quesnel wins bragging rights this time. Nice work, Norm! I preesh your word.

Now Judy Flynn, of Topsfield, writes: “I have a pet peeve: people who don’t stop at yield signs when driving!” In fact, she wrote to me about this twice, months apart, making it clear that this is more than a passing non-fancy, and I preesh her commitment to keeping this on my coinage radar.

I did wonder whether a failure to yield peeves others as well, though, so I undertook a bit of research online. I found this query on Quora: “If merging traffic has to yield when entering a highway, why do so many drivers in Massachusetts not bother yielding?”

And there was this on Reddit, from a Nutmegger (that’s someone who lives in Connecticut): “Is it just me, or do Massachusetts drivers have no clue what yield means?. . . During my daily commutes, as I’m approaching highway rest stop, I can say with absolute certainty that a Massachusetts driver nine times out of 10 will speed up to enter the highway without even looking back.”


So not only is Judy onto something, but what she’s onto seems to be especially applicable to us Bay Staters. Send your suggestions for Judy’s word to me at Barbara.Wallraff@globe.com by noon on Friday, Feb. 16, and kindly tell me where you live. Responses may be edited. And please keep in mind that meanings in search of words are always welcome.

Barbara Wallraff is a writer and editor in Cambridge.