Lovey-Dovey —Its Meaning and Origin

Meaning:

If someone is being “lovey-dovey” with another person, then they are showing affection for them, such as hugging or kissing them.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
None.

Origin Of ‘Lovey-Dovey’

The origin of this phrase is not clear. What I am about to state is obvious, but it looks like someone took the words ‘love’ and ‘dove’ and then added the letter ‘y’ to the end of them. Perhaps this was done to make them sound cuter. Why combine these two words, though? Well, the dove bird is sometimes used as a symbol for love, so that might have something to do with it, and there’s also the whole thing where these words rhyme with one another.

Alright, so not much is known about this expression. What I do know, however, is that this saying has existed for around 200 years, at least, possibly longer. For example, The Metropolis, a book published in 1819, there’s a part from it that reads:

​”My dearest love–lovey, dovey, or odious duckey!”

However, apparently the phrase goes back even further than that, by 60 years, as claimed by Robert Hendrickson in the Facts on File of Word and Phrase Origins

“It is recorded first in England in 1769 as a term of affection: ‘The domestic Lovies and Dovies.’ “


Example Sentences

  1. Those two people in the front row keep getting all lovey-dovey with each other. I’m trying to watch the movie, but they are distracting. How annoying!

Note: This site has the meanings for phrases, but as for their origins, well, did you know that the origins for many common idioms cannot be said with a certainty? Yeah, so what’s usually provided when that happens are explanations that may be plausible to how a phrase originated, but not necessarily so. If no explanations are given, there will typically be a quote of the expression. These quotes can give you an idea for how old an expression is.