I’ve had a troubling question floating in the back of my mind for several days now: why do we use the same word to mean having to do with the ideas of Plato as we do to mean a friendship with no romantic or sensual intentions? What does a Platonic friendship have to do with Platonic dialogues?
Well, I got frustrated and looked it up in the OED, an excellent resource for these sorts of etymological dilemmas. And I found the answer. Evidently, the term “platonic love” has been in use for centuries, and it was originally meant “to denote the kind of interest in young men with which Socrates was credited: cf. the last few pages of Plato's Symposium.”
So there you have it. The idea of platonic friendship, evidently, comes from Plato. Well, I’m sure people had them before Plato. But that’s why we call it what we do. I feel better already, knowing I won’t be arguing for a more aristotelian friendship with some of my friends and acquaintances.