[ yur-ning ]
See synonyms for: yearningyearningly on

  1. deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness: a widower's yearning for his wife.

  2. an instance of such longing.

Origin of yearning

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English gierninge; equivalent to yearn + -ing1

synonym study For yearning

1. See desire.

Other words from yearning

  • yearn·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·yearn·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use yearning in a sentence

  • She rose from her knees and looked yearningly at the lover of her youth.

    A German Pompadour | Marie Hay
  • She held out her hands yearningly to him, as if she would shield him, or as if she wanted him to shield her from the sharp words.

    The Shadow of Ashlydyat | Mrs. Henry Wood
  • She looked at him yearningly, for she realized that she had made him do things her way—this wild, unpractical, artistic soul.

    The "Genius" | Theodore Dreiser
  • She moved away and he followed her with his eyes, yearningly, burningly, until she reached the door.

    The "Genius" | Theodore Dreiser
  • The younger brother turned away, and looked yearningly to the mountains.

    The Lily and the Totem | William Gilmore Simms

British Dictionary definitions for yearning


/ (ˈjɜːnɪŋ) /

  1. an intense or overpowering longing, desire, or need; craving

Derived forms of yearning

  • yearningly, adverb

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