A man surprises his valentine.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- a sweetheart chosen or greeted on Saint Valentine's Day
- one's sweetheart
- a greeting card or note sent to a real or pretended sweetheart on this day, and containing a message of sentimental love
- a burlesque of this, often sent anonymously
- a gift presented on Saint Valentine's Day
Origin: Middle English from Old French
Origin: Middle English from Classical Latin Valentinus from Valens, a masculine name from valens, present participle : see valence
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a. A sentimental or humorous greeting card sent to a sweetheart, friend, or family member, for example, on Saint Valentine's Day.b. A gift sent as a token of love to one's sweetheart on Saint Valentine's Day.
- A person singled out especially as one's sweetheart on Saint Valentine's Day.
Origin: After Saint Valentine.Word History: Lovers and the greeting card industry may have Geoffrey Chaucer to thank for the holiday that warms the coldest month. Although reference books abound with mentions of Roman festivals from which Valentine's Day may derive, Jack B. Oruch has shown that no evidence supports these connections and that Chaucer was probably the first to link the saint's day with the custom of choosing sweethearts. No such link has been found before the writings of Chaucer and several literary contemporaries who also mention it, but after them the association becomes widespread. It seems likely that Chaucer, the most imaginative of the group, invented it. The fullest and perhaps earliest description of the Valentine's Day tradition occurs in Chaucer's Parlement of Foules, composed around 1380, which takes place “on Seynt Valentynes day,/Whan every foul cometh there to chese [choose] his make [mate].”
, Saint fl. third century A.D.