• synonyms


  1. the act of a person or thing that darns.
  2. the result produced.
  3. articles darned or to be darned.
Show More

Origin of darning

First recorded in 1605–15; darn1 + -ing1


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

Origin of darn1

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


1. See mend.


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

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for darning

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Aunt has found out the slit, and poor I will be set to the darning to-morrow.

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

  • He is at his darning; ay, with real wool and a real needle he is darning his socks.

  • Betty, why do you sit up at this hour of the night darning your stockings?

    The New Pun Book

    Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey

  • Jim's mother looked thoughtfully at the sock she was darning.

    Still Jim

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • We shan't have to do any darning, but just embroidery in our cells and wax flowers.


    Susan Coolidge

British Dictionary definitions for darning


  1. to mend (a hole or a garment) with a series of crossing or interwoven stitches
Show More
  1. a patch of darned work on a garment
  2. the process or act of darning
Show More
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)
Show More
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 darning



"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.

Show More



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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper