According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love ἀγάπη, among other things, refers to

Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one's children and the feelings for a spouse

while στοργή is explained like this:

Storge means "love, affection" and "especially of parents and children".[10] It is the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring.

Sounds very similar (other meanings of the words are different). That these words share this meaning kind of contradicts the main point of this article

Ancient Greek philosophy differentiates at least four main conceptual forms and distinct words for the Modern English word love

  • 1
    It may be good to have a look at C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves, because he revives storage as one of those “four loves” and references the classical sources. Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


στοργή derives from the verb στέργω, whose etymology

From Proto-Indo-European *sterg- (literally “to cover, to protect”)

may well give a clue to the connotation of protectiveness associated with the word.

So, στοργή summarizes the feelings of parents to offspring, but not vice versa (unless in the declining years of the former). My sense is that ἀγάπη is quite symmetric in this setup.

στοργή has a strong sense of familial affection. In early Christianity, the conceit of moving from ἀγάπη to στοργή suggested acquiring new quasi-family ties.

  • I never associated στοργή with early Christianity (in fact, I believe the word doesn't occur in the NT). What exactly do you mean by your last sentence?
    – brianpck
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 13:17
  • Romans 12.20. See. Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 20:07

Storge (Στοργή) refers to the expression of Agape (Ἀγάπη) (but other types of loves too). In other words Storge is an act of, and Agape the feeling of. One cannot be feeling Storge (not in Greek (1), yes in English for affection and fondness), just express it.

(1) well, ok, maybe it can sometimes be worded as feeling it, but it really is strongly expression oriented.

  • Do you have a citation for this?
    – cmw
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 13:20
  • No, sorry I should have specified that this is entirely anecdotal.
    – gts
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 13:24

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