carry a torch for

carry a torch for (one)

To be in love with one, especially secretly and/or unrequitedly. I've carried a torch for her since high school, but I've never been able to tell her how I feel. Susan carried a torch for him for years after they broke up.
See also: carry, for, torch
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

carry a torch for

Also, carry the torch for. Continue to feel the pain of unreciprocated love for, as in Jane has been carrying the torch for Bill for at least a year. The torch in this term alludes to the heat of love or passion. [1920s]
See also: carry, for, torch
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

carry a torch for

feel (especially unrequited) love for.
1996 TV Times A dentist carrying a torch for the local ‘strawberry blonde’ wonders if he married the right woman.
See also: carry, for, torch
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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