Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning.
Many other languages use multiple words to express some of the different concepts that in English are denoted as "love"; one example is the plurality of Greek words for "love" which includes agape and eros.
Although the nature or essence of love is a subject of frequent debate, different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isn't love (antonyms of "love").
Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
The word "love" can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts.
In recent years, the sciences of psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology have added to the understanding the concept of love.
Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and human behavior researcher, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment.
Love as a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like) is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is sometimes contrasted with friendship, although the word love is often applied to close friendships.
(Further possible ambiguities come with usages "girlfriend", "boyfriend", "just good friends").
Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love.
Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states.
Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including the neurotransmitter hormones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, the same compounds released by amphetamine, stimulating the brain's pleasure center and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement.