30 Unique Symbols of Love: The Meanings Behind Each One

By Unnati Bhattarai | 6 September 2023 04:25 AM

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Love is a universal language and every tradition has its own way of symbolizing love. The symbols of love vary from ancient mythology, flowers, stones, insects, trees, leaves, birds, fruits, and more.

Not to mention there are also some physical symbols for expressing love and emotions. While you may be aware of the inescapable romantic love symbols like heart and cupid, there are many unique ones you might be surprised to hear.

So, here is a list of 30 unique symbols of love with meanings behind each.

1. The Heart

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Before we go into the more unique ones, let's start with the universal symbol of love, the heart. The heart shape used as the symbol of love is anatomically an incorrect shape, but it is used widely to spread the idea that love is a feeling felt and expressed through the heart.

The meaning behind a heart-shaped symbol is love, warmth, life, unity, attraction, affection, care, tenderness, romance, excitement of love, purity, and femininity. Moreover, an arrow through a red heart represents being struck by the love's arrow.

2. Doves

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Dove represents peace, freedom, and love. A pair of doves symbolizes an eternity of love and soulful bonding. Doves signify enduring relationships because they mate with only one partner for life.

We sometimes call a couple lovey-dovey because two people in love look like doves cooing and caring for each other. In some weddings, doves are often released during the ceremony. The meaning behind this is evident as a pair of doves is a symbol of lasting love.

3. Cupid

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Cupid is a figure or an artwork that looks like a baby boy with wings holding a bow and arrow. A cupid has the power to make people fall in love. Ancient Greek and Roman mythology represents Cupid as the god of desire, affection, and erotic love.

Today, a cupid symbolizes love, and all the feelings related to love are evoked by the arrow of the Cupid, which pierces through people’s hearts.

4. Red Roses

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Red rose is a symbol of love, passion, innocence, and devotion from ancient times. It is a classical flower that represents the feeling of love.

Legend has it that rose was created by the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The tears of Aphrodite and blood of her lover Adonis watered the ground from where the red Roses sprung. It became a symbol of love until death.

5. Mistletoe

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Mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows white poisonous berries. The history of the Mistletoe as a symbol of love and laughter started from the Romania culture. It also represents fertility and romance.

Kissing under the mistletoe during Christmas is a modern culture derived from an ancient norse Greek story. The story goes that goddess Figg lost her son Baldur to an arrow made of mistletoe. She then vowed that anyone who passed beneath Mistletoe would kiss so that it would never be used again as a weapon.

Also Read: 7 Good Boundaries To Set In A Relationship

6. Apple

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Apple is popular symbol of love, ecstasy, pleasure, and fertility in many ancient cultures. Adam and Eve were thrown out of heaven by eating the forbidden apple. Chinese, Norse and Greek culture also portrays apples as a sign of unconditional love.

It is also believed that if a man throws apple to the woman he loves, it means he is expressing his feelings for her. If the girl catches it, she is reciprocating the love.

7. Swans

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From fairy tales to Greek mythology, Swans are considered to be a symbol of eternal love, devotion, and loyalty. It is derived from the fact that swans have only one mate their entire life, so if two swans appear together as a couple, it is believed that you have found your soulmate.

They are truly the love-birds. Just like doves, swans are the beautiful white birds representing love, affection, care, grace and beauty.

8. Lock and Key

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Lock and key is a love symbol that means you are locked in love forever. It signifies strength, commitment, and constancy in the relationship.

Many bridges or lovers' point has these railings where couples lock a padlock and throw the keys into river. By doing this ritual, they believe they will be in a long-lasting eternal relationship.

9. Maple Leaf

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Maple leaves were used by the Chinese and Japanese to make sweet syrups in ancient times. So, they are now represented as a symbol of sweetness in love.

North Americans also put Maple leaves on the foot of the bed to scare away demons and evil spirits. In movies also, Maple leaves are scattered in the beautiful fall weather that represents love is blossoming between two people.

10. Seashells

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The goddesses of love among three cultures Aphrodite, venus and Lakshmi, all have association with seashells. They used seashells to convey emotions and represent intense love.

Seashells are also linked to fertility, sexuality, and fondness. Hence it is one of the symbol of love from ancient traditions.

11. Harp

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The harp means the bridge of love that connects heaven and earth, as per the Celtic culture. Many love songs have soothing tones and ballads of Harp.

It is believed that King David played harp to express his love and devotion to the lord.

12. Holding Hands

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Holding hands is a way of showing our emotions, but it is not necessarily romantic connections. It is also associated with friendship, solidarity, support, affection, warmth, reconciliation or reassurance.

Generally, if two people walk on the way holding hands together, it means they are a couple.

13. Kiss

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A kiss is a surefire way to express feelings of love, respect, romance, sexual attraction, passion, and affection in many cultures. It is also a way to showing love among the animals.

A mother can kiss her child as a way to express her unconditional love. A couple can kiss each other on lips to increase intimacy and bonding while expressing their feelings. This physical gesture is the most common and world renowned symbol of love.

14. Venus

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Venus is the planet that symbolizes love, beauty, money, romance, and art. Venus is worshipped by Romans as the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.

The gender symbol of the female "♀" which looks like a circle over a cross, is also derived from the orientation of Venus in the solar system. It also represents purity in Indian traditions.

15. The Ankh

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The Ankh looks somewhat like a cross and also referred to as a cross with handle. In ancient Egypt culture, the Ankh represents eternal life and love.

It expresses longevity, love, life, and power. It also symbolizes fertility as it resembles female genitalia.

16. Love Knot

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A strong love knot is a symbol of strength in a relationship. The stronger the knot is, the deeper and stronger is the love. So, a love knot is an age-old tradition and there are many types of Celtic knots that have different meanings.

For example, a Celtic spiral and oval knot represents limitless love, a motherhood knot icovellavna represents pure and infinite love, pair of Serch Bythol knots symbolise everlasting bonding between partners, and so on.

17. Rose Quartz

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Saying someone "stone-hearted" can mean they do not have any emotions for love and affection. However, some stone like Rose Quartz are believed to be the symbol of love. It is just like how astrologers claim certain gemstones having some powers for good luck.

The pink stone, Rose Quartz, was found originally in the Egypt, China, and Greece. People still believe that the owner of Rose Quartz will be full of self-love and can attract love towards it due to its power.

18. Claddagh

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Claddagh is originated from the Irish legendary story. It goes like a fisherman separated from his beloved after being abducted by the pirates. The fisherman was later sold as a slave to the goldsmith.

He used to steal some slick of gold everyday and after collecting enough, he made a beautiful ring for his lady love. The ring was designed with intricate detail like holding hands gently and a heart in between. It represents two people coming together by holding hands and turning their hearts into one. It was named after the fisherman's village.

This heart-touching story is the reason why it is considered a love symbol in Irish culture and around the world.

19. Infinity

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The infinity symbol consists of two loops having no start or end. It represents that love is never ending. People also use the phrase "infinity and beyond" to express their commitment towards each other.

This symbol of love is similar to Celtic knots and can be found in many cultures like ancient Greece, Rome, India and Tibet.

20. Myrtle Flower

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Myrtle flower symbolizes love and beauty of a bride. It is also associated with the Goddess of love, Venus.

Different British weddings use bouquets of Myrtle flowers. Even Queen Victoria had a sprig of Myrtle flower bouquet at her wedding.

21. Honeysuckle

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Honeysuckle is regarded as a symbol of love in France based on the poem titled "Honeysuckle." It mentions the story of medieval chivalric romance of Tristan and Isolde.

It represents the flames and tenderness for lost love. The honeysuckle poem also mentions Tristan arranging a secret meeting with Isolde by letting her know his nearby presence. He engraves his name on the hazel tree. It also created a practice of engraving names of lovers on bark of trees. 

22. Willow Tree

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Willow tree is a symbol of love, fertility and new life. Especially in Chinese traditions, the Willow tree plays a significant role as a love symbol because of an age-old story.

The story mentions about a couple eloping and meeting under the Willow tree, but has a sad ending as they die together in a fire and burn in the flames looking like doves. Willow tree also represents how love between two people can grow, die, and undergo a cycle of rebirth.

23. Ladybugs

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Another unique symbol of love is the Ladybug. The red-colored beetles with black dots on the surface are not even bugs. These aphid eaters are associated with love, fertility, rebirth, and more.

The hidden meaning behind the ladybug being a love symbol is that it is believed that the number of black dots you see on ladybug is the number of years you need to wait to meet your soulmate. It is also believed that if you capture a ladybug and release it, it will make its way to your soulmate and whisper your name in their ears so that they will come to you.

All these myths are bizarre, but still makes a point that ladybugs are considered a symbol of good luck in love.

24. Hugging

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When we hug someone, we release a chemical called oxytocin which makes us feel good and happy. This is a natural way of expressing love that we are born with.

A baby hugs his/her mother when it craves love and couple hug each other to share their feelings. Even friends and families hug each other to show support, care and affection. It is a universal language and symbol of love.

25. Ribbons and Frills

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Ribbons and frills are the oldest culture of showing your love. Usually, a lady love would tie a scarf of ribbon for the knights and warriors when they go for battlefields to show they care.

Women are also known to drop their frills and handkerchiefs in front of a man they like so that he will recognize their signal of crush.

26. Padme Lotus

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Padme lotus or the red lotus is a symbol of love and passion. While the blue lotus represents wisdom, the gold lotus represents ultimate enlightenment, and white lotus represents metal purity.

The number of petals on the lotus also has different indications. Eight-petal Lotus means harmony and thousand petaled ones signifies enlightenment.

27. Jasmine

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The Persian meaning of Jasmine is gift of God. The fragrance of Jasmine intensifies good mood and has spiritual symbolism in many religions.

Jasmine is a symbol of love, purity, motherhood, good luck, beauty, respect and honor.

28. Osram Ne Nsoromma

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The literal meaning of Osram Ne Nsoromma is star and moon. The image of this symbol has a star inside the crescent moon shape. This means God is always watching over us as a guardian.

Osram Ne Nsoromma symbolizes love, faithfulness and bonding, especially in marriage. It also reflects the harmony between a husband and wife.

29. Three Leaf Clover

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The three-leaf clover is a symbol of love, faith and hope. The fourth leaf would represent luck. It is also a national symbol on Ireland.

The three-leaf clover is also called a Shamrock. It is believed that the leaf deepens bond and strengthens connection between husband and wife. Irish couples also wear this on their wedding day to get blessed.

30. Diamond

Heart shaped diamond
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Diamond is an unbreakable strong stone and is a symbol of love as it signifies the strength of love. Diamonds are supposed to be in engagement rings and wedding rings as it is a tradition in many cultures.

According to a Greek belief, Cupid uses the diamond-tipped arrows to make people fall in love with each other. This is the reason why diamonds are preferred on rings.

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