Love handles

Love handles

Love handles, in colloquial or slang speech, are a layer of fat that is deposited around a person's midsection, especially visible on the sides over the abdominal external oblique muscle. They are called "love handles" because they provide a soft place to rest one's hand while one's arm is around a person, or perhaps because they can serve as places to hold on while copulating. [cite web|url=|title=Love Handles|publisher=English Daily]


The term first appeared in the late 1960s, and is defined in the Historical Dictionary of American Slang as "a bulge of fat at the side of the waist." [cite news|url=|title=On Language: Muffin-Top|publisher=The New York Times Magazine|first=William|last=Safire|date=2005-08-28]

Both men and women tend to be image-conscious regarding love handles, sometimes leading to a negative body image. While many products are marketed for eliminating love handles, it is generally agreed that spot reduction is impossible, and that the best way to reduce them is to lose fat by being more active (through activities such as cardiovascular exercise and weight training) and consuming fewer calories. [cite news|url=|title=The last-minute beach plan|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=2006-07-11]

Use in print media

In July 2007 The Washington Post published an article simply titled "Love Handles" which claimed that, while weight gain was once blamed on genes inherited from one's parents, a study had shown that people were 57% more likely to become obese if a friend did first, [cite news|url=|title=Love handles|publisher=The Washington Post|date=2007-07-29] and in August of the same year, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper ran a story with the headline "Nicolas Sarkozy love handles 'airbrushed'" which claimed that a photograph of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy had been edited when they were published in a magazine owned by one of his friends. [cite news|url=|title=Nicolas Sarkozy love handles 'airbrushed'|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=2007-08-24] The expression was also used by CBS News in March 2008 in an article entitled "When Lions Get Love Handles" which described the difficulties zoos are having in ensuring a balanced diet for the animals in their care. [cite news|url=|title=When Lions Get Love Handles|publisher=CBS News|date=2008-03-17]


Love handles are also colloquially called a spare tire due to the enlarged tire-like shape around the midsection. [cite web|url=|title=What is a spare tire?|publisher=Wise Geek] Other synonyms are midriff bulge and muffin top.

See also

*Central obesity
*Muffin top (also known belt overhang)


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • love handles — love ,handles noun plural HUMOROUS areas of fat at the sides of someone s waist …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • love handles — ☆ love handles pl.n. Slang bulges of fat at the sides of the waist …   English World dictionary

  • love handles — n. rolls of fat around the waist that can be held on to during love making. □ Ted worked out daily, trying to get rid of his love handles. □ Not only did he grow a belly, but he’s got handles on his handles …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

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  • love handles — love han·dles ləv .han dəlz n pl fatty bulges along the sides at the waist …   Medical dictionary