- deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness: a widower's yearning for his wife.
- an instance of such longing.
Origin of yearning
- to have an earnest or strong desire; long: to yearn for a quiet vacation.
- to feel tenderness; be moved or attracted: They yearned over their delicate child.
Origin of yearn
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for yearning
The story, told with precision and restraint, is full of yearning and quiet reflection.Adam Hochschild on Keeping Company With His Dying Father
June 14, 2014
Chinese yearning to breathe experiment with canned mountain air, makeshift purifiers, and bans on barbecues—to no avail.The Chinese Can’t Catch Their Breath
May 5, 2014
The yearning for a vague idea of “glory” that will come with being part of a greater Russian “whole” runs through everything.Pro-Russian Protestors in Ukraine Dream of Soviet Glory Days
April 8, 2014
A time-honored and noble legacy is kept alive by a yearning for discovery and exploration.Nicolas Ghesquière Presents His Debut Collection for Louis Vuitton
March 5, 2014
I think that yearning for one more thing is very much on my mind.The Book of B.J. Novak: An Absurdist, Scathingly Funny Literary Debut
February 6, 2014
But the yearning towards the parent country is too strong to be overcome.In the Heart of Vosges
His heart ached with yearning more intense than any that he could recall.Casanova's Homecoming
Besides, is not the yearning for the divine simply a desire to behold the Divinity?The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
He glanced across the river as though he were yearning to accept the invitation.The Law-Breakers
There's something in me that—I think only a son of his could have satisfied my yearning.A Spirit in Prison
- an intense or overpowering longing, desire, or need; craving
- (usually foll by for or after or an infinitive) to have an intense desire or longing (for); pine (for)
- to feel tenderness or affection
Word Origin and History for yearning
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.