verb (used with object)

to mend, as torn clothing, with rows of stitches, sometimes by crossing and interweaving rows to span a gap.


a darned place, as in a garment: an old sock full of darns.

Origin of darn

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

Synonyms for darn

1. See mend.



adjective, adverb

verb (used with object)

to curse; damn: Darn that pesky fly!

Origin of darn

First recorded in 1775–85; see origin at darned
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for darn

Contemporary Examples of darn

Historical Examples of darn

  • "Ah, don't you try to seem too darn' innocent," Roland snarled.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Well,” said Richards, with a mouthful of it, “I call it darn good.

  • "Darn it all, I like to be friendly with my friends," he bluntly persisted.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • “You can put up your darn gun, inspector,” came the startling response.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • If she wanted so darn much to keep him why didn't she take him then?

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

British Dictionary definitions for darn




to mend (a hole or a garment) with a series of crossing or interwoven stitches


a patch of darned work on a garment
the process or act of darning
Derived Formsdarner, noundarning, noun

Word Origin for darn

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



interjection, adjective, adverb, noun

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 darn

"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