6

The feelings of love that a young person has for somebody else and that adults do not think is very serious is called "puppy love". Is there an equivalent noun for the elderly? For example, in Greece, when an old person falls in love, in which case this love is not taken seriously by the majority, this love is called "old-age love".

4
  • 1
    While puppy love maybe associated with young people because it implies naivete, it isn't defined as something that can only apply young people -- it's defined as superficial, trivial, passing, easily forgotten. I.e., there's no reason you could not apply it to old people, if that's what you think about their feelings. Sort of like the use of the word "cute" -- associated more with children, but there's nothing wrong with "cute old man", and in fact commonly one might say of puppy love, "isn't that cute".
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:01
  • Is this two elderly people falling in love, or an elderly and a young person? In the latter case, it might be condemned or ridiculed as a "May-September" or "Spring-Winter" love affair. I suppose that love between elderly people might not be taken seriously, because their time to enjoy it will probably be so short (which is being cruel), but I don't know of any English term for it.
    – Phil Perry
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:19
  • Not both have to be elderly people. I'm describing an old person falling in love, and feeling and behaving like a younger person would in this kind of situation.
    – Vic
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:29
  • 1
    The elderly are just as capable of puppy love as children. They are also capable of kitten love, or love for any other baby pet. :-) [wordplay] Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 22:48

4 Answers 4

6

I don't know of any terms that deliver specifically what you've requested. You might consider:

  • Infatuation. No age implications, has a sense of obsessiveness.
  • Crush (noun def. 2). Informal. Has some sense of childishness and is also transient or brief.
  • Passing fancy. Not nearly as strong as love, no age connotations, short lived. However, the phrase is a bit antiquated sounding (to my ear, at least), so it might be appropriate for describing the elderly.
  • Smitten (adjective). Includes those genuinely in love, no age connotations. Someone smitten, especially an older person (who we generally assume has experience and isn't as susceptible to powerful feelings as a teenager) has fallen in love hard and fast and has at least some of the characteristics of someone infatuated, though there's at least an equal chance they're "really" in love.

Honestly, it's quite acceptable to use puppy love the way you want, as long as you give enough context to make it clear who's experiencing the feeling. Though it's most commonly used with youth, the definition isn't restricted to them. Describing an elderly person or couple with it even gives the phrase some extra weight, by implying they were so stricken that they behaved as if they were teenagers again.

3
  • 2
    I agree; while some dictionary definitions suggest puppy love only applies to teens and tweens, others seem to allow for a broader application. From ODO: puppy love (noun) an intense but relatively shallow romantic attachment, typically associated with adolescents.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    Any of the terms you mention are appropriate for describing this sort of love. But none of them are specifically about love between old people, which I think was the point of the question. (Whether they are useful to the original poster is up to him.)
    – Jay
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 18:25
  • @jay Read the first sentence of my post; I point that out. Giving some imperfect suggestions is considerably more helpful than just saying "there isn't one". Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 0:14
5

I am not aware of any commonly-used term in English for this idea. You could certainly make up a word or phrase, but you would probably have to explain it.

I think there's a cultural thing here. In the U.S., at any rate, I don't think people generally view love between old people as something not serious.

1
  • Your 2nd paragraph applies to UK culture too.
    – i-CONICA
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 16:03
4

I think puppy love would apply for the elderly as well, or at least be understood.

Otherwise, if you want to be a little mean, you could use dinosaur love or fossil love, teeheehee.

1

When the infatuation exists between a young person and an elderly person we call this May-December love. There is often a sense that perhaps it is not the body or the personality of the older person that attracts the younger one, but rather some other asset.

By jocular extension, love between two elderly persons may be referred to as December-December love which is not quite a standing idiom, but will I suspect become so as spry elderly people become a more common sight, and the expression is of course not difficult to penetrate. I predict it will simply become December love.

With puppy love the implication is that the youngling is effusively enthusiastic and thus making a fool of himself (or herself, but we tend to say this of boys rather than girls). If you wish to express your opprobrium for a nonagenarian hooking up with a pneumatic blonde who is after his money, you may say There's no fool like an old fool but that expression is not limited to the romantic domain.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .