What is the Meaning of the Word ‘Valentine’ in English?

Delve into the meaning of the term ‘valentine’, understanding its origins and how it has come to represent love and affection in the modern world. From Latin roots to pop culture impact, explore the evolution of ‘valentine’.


Every year, on February 14th, millions of people exchange cards and gifts under the banner of ‘Valentine’s Day’, but have you ever stopped to ponder the meaning of the word ‘valentine’? Let’s dive deeper into the origin and meaning of this synonymous word with love and romantic gestures.

The Origin of ‘Valentine’

The word ‘valentine’ has its roots in the Late Middle Ages, but its usage as we understand it today was popularized in the 18th century. Stemming from the Latin ‘valentinus’, the term referred to a person who was chosen as a special sweetheart or loved one.

‘Valentine’ and the Christian Saints

In Christian parlance, the word ‘Valentine’ is associated with two Italian saints named Valentine. Both were martyred for their faith in the 3rd century. Saint Valentine of Rome is believed to have been a priest who performed weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry, and Saint Valentine of Terni was a bishop. Their stories helped shape Valentine as a symbol of love and commitment.

Modern Interpretation of ‘Valentine’

In contemporary usage, a ‘valentine’ is a sweetheart or chosen love but has also come to represent cards or gifts exchanged on Valentine’s Day. In the modern context, the word is not limited to a romantic partner; it can also signify a bond of affection between friends or family.

Impact of ‘Valentine’ on Pop Culture

The term ‘valentine’ is also prevalent in popular culture. Many songs, books, and films over the years have used ‘valentine’ in their titles, encapsulating the universal theme of love and affection.


The word ‘valentine’ has a rich history. Originating from Latin and influenced by Christian association, today it embodies expressions of affection, romantic and platonic alike. As the popularity of Valentine’s Day continues to grow globally, the meaning of the word ‘valentine’ will remain an embodiment of love and companionship.

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