I can remember first learning about the concept of “agape” in church when I was younger. Maybe even in a Sunday School class on a cool, Michigan morning. Either way the word sounded foreign to me, much like the biblical names.


Greek for “love” (one of a few). It was explained to me at the time as “Christian love” and is not like Eros (romantic love) or Philia or Storge.

When I recently heard the word used again – we haven’t been to church in a very long time – it was on Sirius XM The Spectrum (Channel 28) as the title to a song by Bear’s Den:

The DJ or promo pronounced the word “ag-uh-pay” where the beginning sounded like the “ag” in agriculture. Like this, I believe: ă-gə-pā

I would have said it like this Merriam-Webster pronunciation: “uh-gah-pay” / ä-gä-pā

As a point of reference and fact, the band says it “ag-uh-pay” in the song. They make the word rhyme with “dissipate” if that makes any sense.

It seems like a perfectly cromulent pronunciation, albeit one I’d never heard of before hearing the song or writing this blog post.

In fact the inimitable Richard Blade pronounced it as “uh-gayp” (ə-gāp) just this morning, jarring my memory and making me laugh. If you ever wondered if Deejays are actually listening to the songs they play, that’s pretty much an acknowledgement that they aren’t.

If you want to hear all 3 pronunciations of “agape” spoken out loud (to distinguish betweens the two Greek versions), here’s a good link.

Semi-sequitur: WordPress needs a good plug-in for dealing with international phonetic alphabetic spellings.

Non-sequitur: Here’s a discussion of the various & conflicting accents in HBO’s Game of Thrones. It’s interesting to note that the tongues of Westeros (and beyond) aren’t as uniform as one might suspect, especially given some of the actors’ own mother tongues.

Excelsior! (and Agape!)

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