Definition: Loving; affectionate.
This adjective phrase describes how two people in a romantic relationship act towards each other. It is often used in a jocular manner to mock someone for their actions with his or her romantic partner.
Origin of Lovey-Dovey
It is unclear when and how this idiom originated. However, it was in use during the 1800s, and it most likely developed from rhyming love with dove.
Doves are a type of bird species that people often observe staying together with their mates.
Examples of Lovey-Dovey
Here is a case of two coworkers using the idiom to complain about a third coworker.
Regina: Surprisingly, Becca hasn’t done anything horrible to me for days now!
Ginny: I know. I think I know why.
Regina: Really? Why?
Ginny: She’s too busy. I saw her acting all lovey-dovey with that new guy who just started working here. I think they’ve started dating.
Regina: Oh, poor guy. Although, if she’s too busy with her new relationship to bother me, then I guess I hope they stay together forever!
In this example, two friends are discussing whether or not to invite a third friend to a movie.
Kevin: Let’s see that new superhero movie.
Steve: Yeah, that sounds great!
Kevin: Cool. We can leave in a couple of hours. I’m just going to text Eric, so that he can come, too.
Steve: Oh, no. Don’t invite him.
Kevin: Why not?
Steve: Well, it’s nothing against Eric, butut if you bring him, he’s going to bring his girlfriend. And then they’re going to act all lovey-dovey throughout the whole movie, holding hands and kissing, and it will be distracting.
Kevin: I have to tell him. I had invited him before I invited you!
In the below example, an online dating expert gives women advice on how to use emojis while texting a person they would like to date.
- Davis, however, warns women to avoid use of flowers, hearts or any emoji that seem lovey-dovey. “It’s like the text version of too much too soon.” –Chicago Tribune
In this second example, the expression describes what seemed to be a loving couple but was later suspected to have serious relationship problems.
- “The weird thing is, I’m a New Yorker and I’ve seen it all — but he bamboozled me. Outwardly they were as lovey-dovey and as sweet and entertaining as you could imagine,” he said. –New York Post
The phrase lovey-dovey is an affectionate manner of behaving towards someone that you love.