the act of a person or thing that darns.
the result produced.
articles darned or to be darned.

Origin of darning

First recorded in 1605–15; darn1 + -ing1



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!


    give a darn. damn(def 14).

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

Related Words for darning

doggone, dang, cripes, darnation, drat

Examples from the Web for darning

Contemporary Examples of darning

Historical Examples of darning

  • 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




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 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.



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