OPINION: Musicians defined it, poets refined it and mere mortals will tell you it is blind.
Some have fallen in it, others shun it, many believe in it at first sight. You can score it in tennis, be head-over-heels in it, you may even find it in the air.
There are four little letters that have danced in the minds of all, enchanting philosophers, females and families since the dawn of time.
It's a simple word really. In fact it's one syllable. It's so straightforward it can be portrayed in charades just by placing a hand on your heart and fluttering your eye lashes.
Not only is the word simple, it is also popular. There are 7,330,000,000 results on Google for ''love'' and over nine million likes for it on Facebook.
It's a word so popular that people often overuse it. Fictional characters are loved, new haircuts are loved, and even bacon is loved.
When Valentine's Day approaches, images of red roses, coupled with heart-shaped chocolates begin to appear everywhere, becoming apparently synonymous with the idea of love.
The sweet-smelling, sugar-coated treats are not the epitome of affection, despite what Cadbury may want you to think. Love is more than candy stamped with ''be mine''. Love is not something that can be bought at the Warehouse. Love is . . .
Love is . . .
What is love?
The word has a dictionary definition, yet many find the explanation of such an important word to be lacking.
Love has a definition unique to every mind that ever mused upon it, to every heart to ever be filled with it and to every person who has ever been consumed by it.
A lot of what I know of love comes from books and long-forgotten poets, so rather than me telling you what love is, I asked you to tell me, and you sure did.
I received close to 2000 words from over 40 different men and women on what they think love is.
Those words have been read, highlighted, copied, pasted, cut, rearranged and carefully made into this.
What is love?
By You, the Modern Lovers Collective.
Ahhhh. Love, it's the most wonderful and the most destructive thing I know.
It can make your life full of beauty and colour or it can drag you down into the darkest depths of despair.
It is an ever-changing, wild element that cannot be defined.
Sometimes love comes over me like a wave, and I don't even know where it came from.
It could be a soul connection. When something connects with your soul - a baby's smile, a flower, a person or an animal - maybe that's love?
When you are young you feel like love explodes like pop rocks, sweetening the soul like fresh spring flowers.
With age love becomes simple, yet comforting. It's a feeling of security in a world that offers none.
You can say everything with just a look. They see you at your worst and still love you because the imperfections make it real.
But it hurts when love isn't returned. If it's taken away. After it stops being unconditional.
I broke up with my fiancé and he told me love is simply a chemical reaction to someone's personality and body.
That hurt me. Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more.
Love is the world's greatest teacher, a powerful healing energy, a promise to care.
It's a universal language. A language of patience and tolerance, and that's what will make it last.
Like my love for my children. That everlasting love is primal and I'm a mother bear. With a partner it's primal too, but it's physical.
Physical, like a mad passion and desire for someone. Lust with feelings. You want to be around them.
You need to be around them for it to grow into the freedom of real love.
That comes after the honeymoon period.
When all of their annoying habits aren't annoying anymore.
Love is choosing to keep choosing the same person. Accepting them for who they are, unconditionally, faults and all.
You're always going to disagree with each other, but love is when you try to understand where you are both coming from, rather than argue about it.
I've taken a leaf out of my parents' marriage. Relationships are not things that get broken. Love can always be worked on and repaired, not just thrown away like a toaster.
What is love? That's a really hard question.
Love is patient. Love is kind.
Eternal. Unrelenting. Oneness.
It's meeting the person I want to grow old with.
Until death do us part.
Love is ... holding someone's hand as they pass away.
Love is knowing that is not the end.
- © Fairfax NZ News