It Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

10 Feb

Did anyone else notice the frequency with which the phrase “make love to” is used in this novel?   At first it kept shocking me, given our current meaning for this phrase.   With the complete lack of anything sexual, however, I’m slowly getting used to it.   Apparently it means something more like “showing love to” or “loving someone.”   I suppose I’d better not start using it as James does.   I might shock everyone else around me.


Posted by on February 10, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


8 responses to “It Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

  1. Patty Sessions

    February 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Back then it seems to have meant flirting, or similar. It is a little tricky to get used to!

    P&P has an instance, of Wickham: “He is as fine a fellow,” said Mr. Bennet, as soon as they were out of the house, “as ever I saw. He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law.”

    And have you ever seen The Court Jester, with Danny Kaye and an 18yo Angela Lansbury? It’s a GREAT movie, so funny. The old witch puts a spell on Danny Kaye (the jester) and says, “Now go! Go, and make love to the princess!”

  2. Melissa

    February 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I am used to this phrase from all the classic movies I have watched over the years but it does take a bit to get used to.

  3. Adriana

    February 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    This conversation is making me blush.

  4. Elyssa

    February 11, 2013 at 1:24 am

    It took some getting used to but I’ve come across it so many times in classic movies as well as literature. The phrase has evolved over the years. These days implies something completely different than it used to, indeed!

  5. Jeannette

    February 11, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Well, thanks, ladies! I might have to try The Court Jester. 🙂 Adriana – I think I blushed every time I read it! But, you are most definitely the blushing expert.

    • Adriana

      February 11, 2013 at 7:38 am

      Aw shucks, Jeannette! [blushing again at the compliment]

  6. paper doll

    February 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    it’s like on a history blogs. Every week someone has to be told little boys wore dresses for a time back in the day in infancy and as toddlers.

    At one time then ” making love” might mean you retrieved their croquet ball

    It’s interesting because having the term mean sex is sort of helping sex out, it adds love and makes it ” nicer “overall …like saying about people ” they are sleeping together ” even when no sleeping is involved .

    I guess it’s a matter of what is permissible to talk about. Today we can talk about sex. So such terms can move up in meaning


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