View synonyms for yearn


[ yurn ]

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.


/ jɜːn /


  1. usually foll byfor or after or an infinitive to have an intense desire or longing (for); pine (for)
  2. to feel tenderness or affection

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Derived Forms

  • ˈyearner, noun

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Other Words From

  • yearner noun
  • un·yearned adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of yearn1

First recorded 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”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of yearn1

Old English giernan; related to Old Saxon girnian, Old Norse girna, Gothic gairnjan, Old High German gerōn to long for, Sanskrit haryati he likes

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

In the sense that many people are out of a job and yearning for a sense of security agencies can’t give them.

From Digiday

Perhaps I had become irredeemably out of control because the direction and encouragement I yearned for at home was absent.

Weary of the disruptions, students yearn to return to the classroom.

If you yearn for tranquility, you’ll spend your life in turmoil because that’s not what life is like.

From Vox

It’s the kind of experience that makes one yearn for a simple life.

Over 2,000 people graduate from university each year in Bhutan, and they yearn for professional work.

We may yearn for them but they are unreachable now, left in a past that seems almost to belong to a distant planet.

It's at a time like this that Germans yearn most for Paul the Octopus, the great mollusk soothsayer for Germany.

Fine—many (though not all) transgender people yearn to take on their felt gender role.

I yearn for an America where people in positions of leadership actually take actual responsibility for their actual failures.

I yearn for one now, but will not endeavour to procure one, I wish to be a father, yet refuse to be a husband or enact his part.'

Your 'gift,' your genius, is yourself, and it's because it's yourself that I yearn for you.

How often, during my ministry, did I yearn to be able to utter that emphatic word!

All that blood in the water made a fine sight, made him yearn all the more to wet his hands with blood.

Neither did he yearn for fair persons—sometimes containing a soul—obtainable at a price for ineffable delight.


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Yearly Meetingyearning