How to Say Love in Russian

Love in Russian
Wedding rings next to the word love in Russian.

 BerS-089 / Getty Images

The word love in Russian is любовь (lyuBOF'), however, there are many more ways to say love in Russian depending on the context of the sentence and the social setting. Some are more appropriate in formal situations while others are only used in casual conversation.

Note that this article focuses on the word love as a noun. For usage as a verb in different scenarios and contexts, visit 18 Ways to Say I Love You in Russian.

01
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Страсть

Pronunciation: strast'

Translation: passion

Meaning: passion

Just like the English word passion, the Russian word страсть is used to describe a passionate feeling between people or a strong love for something, for example, a hobby.

Example:

- У них была страсть. (Oo nikh byLA STRAST'.)
- They had a passionate relationship/fling.

Note that in Russian, страсть is usually considered to be a separate thing from love and denotes a passionate, sexual feeling that may or may not include love.

02
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Влюблённость

Pronunciation: vlyuvLYONnast'

Translation: love, being in love

Meaning: the state of being in love

Влюблённость is used to describe the very beginning of a relationship before feelings become more serious and turn into love.

Example:

- Да это просто влюблённость! (da EHta PROSta vlyubLYONnast!)
- That's just being in love/you are just in love (meaning, it is not serious yet, it is not love).

03
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Обожание

Pronunciation: abaZHAniye

Translation: strong love, adoration

Meaning: adoration

Meaning the same thing as the English word adoration, обожание can be used both to talk about people and other things or hobbies.

Example:

- Предмет обожания. (predMET abaZHAniya.)
- The object of affection/adoration.

04
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Влечение

Pronunciation: vlyeCHEniye

Translation: attraction to someone, being drawn to someone

Meaning: attraction

The word влечение is mainly used when talking about sexual attraction and, as with страсть and влюбленность, is considered to be a separate notion from love.

Example:

- У нее к нему сильное влечение. (oo neYO k nyMOO SEELnaye vlyCHYEniye.)
- She is very attracted to him.

05
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Симпатия

Pronunciation: simPAtiya

Translation: attraction, liking someone

Meaning: sympathy

Симпатия is a common way to describe feelings of liking someone, whether romantically or in a non-romantic way. To feel симпатия means to find someone nice or pleasant (sympathetic) and to get on well with them.

Example:

- Когда вы поняли, что испытываете к нему симпатию? (kagDA vy POnyli shto isPYtyvayete k nyMOO simPAtiyu?)
- When did you first realize that you liked him?

06
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Увлечение

Pronunciation: oovleCHEniye

Translation: passion, fling, being "into" someone or something

Meaning: the state of being "into" someone/something

When someone has an увлечение, it means that they have developed feelings for someone or something. The feelings are not considered as serious as being in love and the expression is often used to describe a short fling that has not (yet) developed into a relationship.

Example:

- Сейчас не время для увлечений. (syCHAS ny VRYEmya dlya oovlyCHEniy.)
- This is not the right time for a fling.

07
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Слабость

Pronunciation: SLAbast'

Translation: attraction, love, special feeling

Meaning: weakness

The word слабость can be used when talking about romantic and non-romantic relationships as well as hobbies and favorite things.

Example:

- У меня слабость к маленьким собачкам. (oo myNYA SLAbast' k MAlen'kim saBACHkam.)
- Little dogs are my weakness.

08
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Амуры

Pronunciation: aMOOry

Translation: a fling, a passionate relationship

Meaning: love, feelings

Амуры came into Russian from French and acquired a layer of sarcasm or slight disapproval. It is often used when talking about someone else's fling and can be translated as fooling around, shenanigans, or simply a passionate relationship. The meaning depends on the context of the sentence. This expression should only be used in informal settings with very close friends and family.

Example:

- Они там амуры все свои крутят. (aNEE tam aMOOry svaEE KROOtyat.)
- They are still having a fling; they are still fooling around.

09
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Чувство / чувства

Pronunciation: CHOOstva

Translation: feelings

Meaning: feeling/feelings

The word чувство means a strong feeling, while the plural, чувства, translates as feelings. Both words can be used interchangeably and are suitable for both casual and more formal settings. They can also have a sarcastic meaning, for example, when the speaker mocks someone's feelings.

Examples:

- У меня к ней чувство. (oo myNYA k nyey CHUSTva.)
- I have feelings for her.

- Ты пойми, у нее ведь чувства. (ty payMEE, oo neYO vyed' CHUSTva.)
- You need to understand, she has all these feelings (towards someone).

10
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Роман

Pronunciation: raMAN

Translation: a romantic relationship, romance

Meaning: a romantic novel

A very common way to describe a romantic relationship, the word роман has informal connotations and is suited to a range of casual or semi-formal situations.

Example:

- Наш роман продлился три года. (nash raMAN pradLEELsya TREE GOda.)
- Our (romantic) relationship lasted three years.