From romant + -ic, or borrowed from Late Latin romanticus (“(of a poem) having qualities of a romance”). Compare French romantique, which is borrowed from English. Also compare Spanish romántico, Portuguese romântico, Italian romantico, Dutch romantisch, and German romantisch and Romantiker (“a composer of Romantic music”), all of which are borrowed from English or French.
romantic (comparative more romantic, superlative most romantic)
- (chiefly historical) Of a work of literature, a writer etc.: being like or having the characteristics of a romance, or poetic tale of a mythic or quasi-historical time; fantastic. [from 17th c.]
- (obsolete) Fictitious, imaginary. [17th-20th c.]
- Fantastic, unrealistic (of an idea etc.); fanciful, sentimental, impractical (of a person). [from 17th c.]
- 1993 May 16, "Return to New York" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 3, Episode 6:
- R. Jeeves: In my experience, ladies who spell Gladys with a W are seldom noted for their reliability, sir. It gives them romantic notions.
B.W. Wooster: With a W, Jeeves? No, no, no, no. You spell it with a G.
R. Jeeves: If I might draw your attention to the signature on the portrait, sir.
B.W. Wooster: Good Lord! G-W?
R. Jeeves: I blame Alfred Lord Tennyson and his Idylls of the King. It also accounts for Kathryn, Ysabel, and Ethyl, all spelt with a Y, but Gwladys is a particularly virulent form, sir.
Mary sighed, knowing her ideals were far too romantic to work in reality.
- Having the qualities of romance (in the sense of something appealing deeply to the imagination); invoking on a powerfully sentimental idea of life; evocative, atmospheric. [from 17th c.]
1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 1, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299:
But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Saco.
- 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
- Somehow she wasn't a real sister, but that only made her the more romantic.
2013 June 1, “End of the peer show”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 71:
Finance is seldom romantic. But the idea of peer-to-peer lending comes close. This is an industry that brings together individual savers and lenders on online platforms. Those that want to borrow are matched with those that want to lend.
- Pertaining to an idealised form of love (originally, as might be felt by the heroes of a romance); conducive to romance; loving, affectionate. [from 18th c.]
- Synonym: lovesome
- Antonyms: platonic, queerplatonic, nonsexual
Their kiss started casually, but it slowly turned romantic.
- Alternative form of Romantic [from 18th c.]
powerfully sentimental, evocative
concerned with, or conducive to, romance and love
romantic (plural romantics)
- A person with romantic character (a character like those of the knights in a mythic romance).
- A person who is behaving romantically (in a manner befitting someone who feels an idealized form of love).
- Oh, flowers! You're such a romantic.
person with romantic character
person who is behaving romantically
- ^ "romantic, adj. and n.", OED Online, revised Nov. 2010 for Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed.. Oxford University Press.
- "romantic" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 274.