dar·​ling | \ ˈdär-liŋ How to pronounce darling (audio) \

Definition of darling

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a dearly loved person
2 : favorite a director who is the darling of the critics



Definition of darling (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : dearly loved : favorite
2 : very pleasing : charming


geographical name
Dar·​ling | \ ˈdär-liŋ How to pronounce Darling (audio) \

Definition of Darling (Entry 3 of 3)

river 1702 miles (2738 kilometers) long in southeastern Australia in Queensland and New South Wales flowing southwest into the Murray River

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Other Words from darling


darlingly \ ˈdär-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce darlingly (audio) \ adverb
darlingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for darling

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Did You Know?


The origins of "darling" can be found in the very heart of the English language; its earliest known uses can be traced back to Old English writings from the 9th century. Old English "deorling" was formed by attaching the Old English suffix -ling ("one associated with or marked by a specified quality") with the adjective "dēore," the ancestor of our adjective "dear" ("regarded very affectionately or fondly," "highly valued or esteemed," "beloved"). English speakers appear to have developed a fondness for "darling" and have held on to it for over a thousand years now. And though its spelling has changed over time - including variations such as "dyrling," "derlinge," and "dearling" - "darling" has maintained its original sense of "one dearly loved."

Examples of darling in a Sentence

Noun She was mother's little darling. for a while that candidate was the darling of the news media and could do no wrong Adjective This is my darling daughter, Sara. That dress is just darling.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hong Kong filmmaker Ray Yeung’s latest work has only had limited screenings in the city, but has quickly become a critics’ darling since its premier at the Busan film festival in South Korea last year. Vivienne Chow, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s best new romance is about the secret lives of the city’s closeted gay “uncles”," 19 Feb. 2020 McKay, a former Saturday Night Live writer and one-time producing partner of Will Ferrell, recently helmed award show darlings The Big Short and Vice. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Good News: Jennifer Lawrence Is Headed To Netflix," 19 Feb. 2020 The franchise's official Twitter account confirmed in January that the Grammys darling would perform the theme song for the upcoming film. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Billie Eilish drops 'No Time to Die,' becomes youngest artist to make James Bond theme," 15 Feb. 2020 But the Silicon Valley darling valued at $35 billion may be falling from grace. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "The latest company to show big losses is — surprise — Airbnb," 13 Feb. 2020 To add to the burn, Netflix darling The Irishman got shut out entirely. Alex Baker-whitcomb, Wired, "Oscars Woes for Netflix, Money for Yahoo Users, and More News," 10 Feb. 2020 But Joe's relentless apostrophe, typically addressing his darling à la mode — the interchangeable you of the title — provides a fuller portrait of his monstrosity. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'You' Season 2: TV Review," 24 Dec. 2019 For many years, KCD’s chief competitor has been PR Consulting, whose founder, Pierre Rougier, is largely inseparable from Nicolas Ghesquière and Raf Simons, two erstwhile fashion darlings. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, "The Man Behind the New Front Row," 6 Feb. 2020 SoftBank has suffered a number of stumbles in recent months, most notably the flameout of former tech darling WeWork, which was forced to abandon its IPO last year. Matt Egan, CNN, "SoftBank's big bets have backfired. Now it's under scrutiny from a legendary activist investor," 6 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Across the way is the most darling wood-burning stove—plus solar, water, battery, and load meters. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Just Wait Until You See the Inside of This Horse Truck-Turned-Tiny Home," 4 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'darling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of darling


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for darling


Middle English derling, from Old English dēorling, from dēore dear

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Time Traveler for darling

Time Traveler

The first known use of darling was before the 12th century

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Statistics for darling

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Darling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darling. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for darling


How to pronounce Darling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of darling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person you love very much
: a kind and helpful person
: someone who is liked very much by a person or group



English Language Learners Definition of darling (Entry 2 of 2)

: greatly loved
informal : very pleasing or attractive


dar·​ling | \ ˈdär-liŋ How to pronounce darling (audio) \

Kids Definition of darling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a dearly loved person
2 : favorite entry 1 He is the darling of golf fans.



Kids Definition of darling (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : dearly loved Come here, darling child.
2 : very pleasing : charming a darling little house

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More from Merriam-Webster on darling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for darling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with darling

Spanish Central: Translation of darling

Nglish: Translation of darling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of darling for Arabic Speakers

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