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[n., adj. roh-mans, roh-mans; v. roh-mans] /n., adj. roʊˈmæns, ˈroʊ mæns; v. roʊˈmæns/
a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.
the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in such tales.
a medieval narrative, originally one in verse and in some Romance dialect, treating of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events, often in the form of allegory.
a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire.
romantic character or quality.
a romantic affair or experience; a love affair.
(initial capital letter). Also, Romanic. Also called Romance languages. the group of Italic Indo-European languages descended since a.d. 800 from Latin, as French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Provençal, Catalan, Rhaeto-Romanic, Sardinian, and Ladino.
Abbreviation: Rom.
verb (used without object), romanced, romancing.
to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams.
to think or talk romantically.
verb (used with object), romanced, romancing.
  1. to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness:
    He's currently romancing a very attractive widow.
  2. to court the favor of or make overtures to; play up to:
    They need to romance the local business community if they expect to do business here.
(initial capital letter). Also, Romanic. of, relating to, or noting Romance:
a Romance language.
Origin of romance1
1250-1300; Middle English romaunce Romanic language, composition in such a language < Old French, derivative of romanz, romans (adj.) Romanic < Vulgar Latin *Rōmānicē (adv.) in a Romance language, derivative of Latin Rōmānicus Romanic
Related forms
romancer, noun
1. story, fiction. 4. falsehood, fable. 6. allure, fascination, exoticism.


[roh-mans] /roʊˈmæns/
Music. a short, simple melody, vocal or instrumental, of tender character.
Spanish Literature. a short epic poem, especially a historical ballad.
1595-1605; < French < Spanish: kind of poem, ballad < Old French romanz romance1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for romance
  • The sight and smell of the sea inspire courage and adventure, fear and romance.
  • The story describes the empty despair of suburbia, the lack of meaningful existence, of romance and human dignity.
  • Her accomplishments led to a life of drama and romance on a grand scale.
  • Five ways to add romance to evenings in the garden.
  • Environmentalists may feel a twinge of fear at this burgeoning romance with motoring.
  • Nitric oxide may have a hand in firefly romance as well.
  • The glow of pillar candles adds warmth and romance to any setting, especially at this time of year.
  • Whether the new sweet talk blossoms into a lasting romance will depend a lot on whether the economy recovers.
  • It's that time of the year when romance is in the air and people everywhere are planning where and when to plant the perfect kiss.
  • She did a great job of killing any romance people might have once had about the place.
British Dictionary definitions for romance


noun (rəˈmæns; ˈrəʊmæns)
a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people
love, esp romantic love idealized for its purity or beauty
a spirit of or inclination for adventure, excitement, or mystery
a mysterious, exciting, sentimental, or nostalgic quality, esp one associated with a place
a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes
any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life
the literary genre represented by works of these kinds
(in Spanish literature) a short narrative poem, usually an epic or historical ballad
a story, novel, film, etc, dealing with love, usually in an idealized or sentimental way
an extravagant, absurd, or fantastic account or explanation
a lyrical song or short instrumental composition having a simple melody
verb (rəˈmæns)
(intransitive) to tell, invent, or write extravagant or romantic fictions
(intransitive) to tell extravagant or improbable lies
(intransitive) to have romantic thoughts
(intransitive) (of a couple) to indulge in romantic behaviour
(transitive) to be romantically involved with
Derived Forms
romancer, noun
Word Origin
C13: romauns, from Old French romans, ultimately from Latin Rōmānicus Roman


/rəˈmæns; ˈrəʊmæns/
denoting, relating to, or belonging to the languages derived from Latin, including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Romanian
denoting a word borrowed from a Romance language: there are many Romance words in English
this group of languages; the living languages that belong to the Italic branch of the Indo-European family
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for romance

c.1300, "a story, written or recited, of the adventures of a knight, hero, etc.," often one designed principally for entertainment," from Old French romanz "verse narrative" (Modern French roman), originally an adverb, "in the vernacular language," from Vulgar Latin *romanice scribere "to write in a Romance language" (one developed from Latin instead of Frankish), from Latin Romanicus "of or in the Roman style," from Romanus "Roman" (see Roman).

The sense evolution is because medieval vernacular tales usually told chivalric adventures full of marvelous incidents and heroic deeds. In reference to literary works, often in Middle English meaning ones written in French but also applied to native compositions. Literary sense extended by 1660s to "a love story." Meaning "adventurous quality" first recorded 1801; that of "love affair" is from 1916. Romance novel attested from 1964. Cf. Romance (adj.).


late 14c., "recite a narrative," from Old French romancier "narrate in French; translate into French," from romanz (see romance (n.)). Later "invent fictitious stories" (1670s), then "be romantically enthusiastic" (1849); meaning "court as a lover" is from 1938, probably from romance (n.). Related: Romanced; romancing.



mid-14c., "French; in the vernacular language of France" (contrasted to Latin), from Old French romanz "French; vernacular," from Late Latin Romanice, from Latin Romanicus (see Roman). Extended 1610s to other modern tongues derived from Latin (Spanish, Italian, etc.); thus "pertaining to the languages which arose out of the Latin language of the provinces of Rome." Cf. romance (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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romance in Culture

romance definition

In traditional literary terms, a narration of the extraordinary exploits of heroes, often in exotic or mysterious settings. Most of the stories of King Arthur and his knights are romances.

The term romance has also been used for stories of mysterious adventures, not necessarily of heroes. Like the heroic kind of romance, however, these adventure romances usually are set in distant places. William Shakespeare's play The Tempest is this kind of romance.

Today, a novel concerned mainly with love is often called a romance. Romances are frequently published in paperback series.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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