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  1. irritating; damned; confounded: Get that darned bicycle out of the driveway!
  1. very; extremely; remarkably: She's a darned good tennis player.

Origin of darned

1800–10; euphemism for damned, perhaps by construing dern dark, dreary (now obsolete) as an intensifier in phrases such as dern and dreary, dern and doleful
Related formsun·darned, adjectivewell-darned, adjective


verb (used with object)
  1. to mend, as torn clothing, with rows of stitches, sometimes by crossing and interweaving rows to span a gap.
  1. a darned place, as in a garment: an old sock full of darns.

Origin of darn1

1590–1600; perhaps to be identified with Middle English dernen to keep secret, conceal, Old English (Anglian) dernan


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1. See mend.


adjective, adverb
  1. darned.
verb (used with object)
  1. to curse; damn: Darn that pesky fly!
  1. give a darn. damn(def 14).

Origin of darn2

First recorded in 1775–85; see origin at darned
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for darned


adverb, adjective slang
  1. (intensifier)this darned car won't start; a darned good shot
  1. another word for damned (def. 2), damned (def. 3)


  1. to mend (a hole or a garment) with a series of crossing or interwoven stitches
  1. a patch of darned work on a garment
  2. the process or act of darning
Derived Formsdarner, noundarning, noun

Word Origin

C16: probably from French (Channel Islands dialect) darner; compare Welsh, Breton darn piece


interjection, adjective, adverb, noun
  1. a euphemistic word for damn (def. 1), damn (def. 2), damn (def. 4), damn (def. 4), damn (def. 15)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for darned



"to mend" c.1600, perhaps from Middle French darner "mend," from darne "piece," from Breton darn "piece, fragment, part." Alternative etymology is from obsolete dern (see dern). Related: Darned; darning.



tame curse word, 1781, American English euphemism for damn, said to have originated in New England when swearing was a punishable offense; if so, its spread was probably influenced by 'tarnal, short for Eternal, as in By the Eternal (God), favorite exclamation of Andrew Jackson, among others. Related: darned (past participle adjective, 1806); darndest (superlative, 1844).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper