Love is as old as humanity itself. Therefore, it is not surprising that over the centuries, a great variety of words and expressions related to this subject have been coined. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (henceforth referred to as the HTOED) is a rich resource for those who intend to study this field from a linguistic point of view. The present analysis sets out to examine an essential domain which is related to the field of love. It will examine a comprehensive sample of 79 nouns referring to flirtation and coquetry. This has so far been neglected in current research. Besides the HTOED, media such as the OED Online and corpora of present-day English including the BNC, the COCA, the Movie Corpus, the TV Corpus and the Soap Corpus will be employed, in order to get a rounded picture of the etymological origin, semantics and contextual uses, including informal usage, of the sample of words under scrutiny from a historical perspective. It thus goes far beyond the scope of previous research on this area.
May 16, 2022