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yearning

[yur-ning] /ˈyɜr nɪŋ/
noun
1.
deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness:
a widower's yearning for his wife.
2.
an instance of such longing.
Origin of yearning
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English gierninge. See yearn, -ing1
Related forms
yearningly, adverb
unyearning, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See desire.

yearn

[yurn] /yɜrn/
verb (used without object)
1.
to have an earnest or strong desire; long:
to yearn for a quiet vacation.
2.
to feel tenderness; be moved or attracted:
They yearned over their delicate child.
Origin
before 900; Middle English yernen, Old English giernan derivative of georn eager; akin to Old Norse girna to desire, Greek chaírein to rejoice, Sanskrit háryati (he) desires
Related forms
yearner, noun
unyearned, adjective
Synonyms
1. Yearn, long, hanker, pine all mean to feel a powerful desire for something. Yearn stresses the depth and passionateness of a desire: to yearn to get away and begin a new life; to yearn desperately for recognition. Long implies a wholehearted desire for something that is or seems unattainable: to long to relive one's childhood; to long for the warmth of summer. Hanker suggests a restless or incessant craving to fulfill some urge or desire: to hanker for a promotion; to hanker after fame and fortune. Pine adds the notion of physical or emotional suffering as a result of the real or apparent hopelessness of one's desire: to pine for one's native land; to pine for a lost love.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for yearning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the yearning towards the parent country is too strong to be overcome.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • His heart ached with yearning more intense than any that he could recall.

    Casanova's Homecoming Arthur Schnitzler
  • Besides, is not the yearning for the divine simply a desire to behold the Divinity?

  • He glanced across the river as though he were yearning to accept the invitation.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • There's something in me that—I think only a son of his could have satisfied my yearning.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
British Dictionary definitions for yearning

yearning

/ˈjɜːnɪŋ/
noun
1.
an intense or overpowering longing, desire, or need; craving
Derived Forms
yearningly, adverb

yearn

/jɜːn/
verb (intransitive)
1.
usually foll by for or after or an infinitive. to have an intense desire or longing (for); pine (for)
2.
to feel tenderness or affection
Derived Forms
yearner, noun
Word Origin
Old English giernan; related to Old Saxon girnian, Old Norse girna, Gothic gairnjan, Old High German gerōn to long for, Sanskrit haryati he likes
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
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Word Origin and History for yearning

yearn

v.

Old English geornan (Mercian), giernan (West Saxon), giorna (Northumbrian), from Proto-Germanic *gernijanan (cf. Gothic gairnjan "to desire," German begehren "to desire"), from *gernaz (cf. Old High German gern, Old Norse gjarn "desirous," Old English georn "eager, desirous," German gern "gladly, willingly"), from PIE root *gher- "to like, want" (see hortatory). Related: Yearned; yearning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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