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 Multiple reports in February and March identified challenges within the athleisure darling, from employee concerns about the leadership of founder Ty Haney to significant financial losses. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Outdoor Voices looks to a new female founder to turn the brand around," 28 June 2020 Regulators seem to have been more cheerleaders for the former market darling... Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, "Wirecard’s Insolvency Is a Warning to Fintech Investors," 25 June 2020 Sanctuary Organic Cotton Reusable Face Masks, Set of 3 ($24; anthropologie.com) Change it up every few days with this darling set of three, which will be available June 13. Elizabeth Wallace, CNN Underscored, "From stylish to silly: Face masks for every personality," 25 June 2020 Schiff revoked his endorsement of Lacey just hours before Gascon picked up a nod of approval from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a progressive darling and former presidential candidate. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Adam Schiff drops endorsement of Jackie Lacey in L.A. County district attorney’s race," 20 June 2020 The 2018 drama by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name, was a critical darling that scored Regina King a best supporting actress Oscar and Golden Globe. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "What to watch this Juneteenth on Netflix, Amazon, and more," 19 June 2020 Unlike Mr Mattis, Mr Bolton, once a Fox News pundit, has been a darling of the right. The Economist, "National security chastiser Details from John Bolton’s book are damning for Donald Trump," 18 June 2020 Marfa still closed In Marfa, an old cowtown that over the last couple of decades became a mecca for sophisticated culture tourists and a darling of the New York Times, almost all of the galleries, museums and arty shops are still closed. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "After hard shutdown, Big Bend slowly reopening," 1 June 2020 While disappearing in obscurity, Doren went on to become America's darling and Twenty-One's most winning contestant. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "Herb Stempel, the whistleblower portrayed in 'Quiz Show,' dies at 93," 31 May 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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Darling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darling. Accessed 11 Jul. 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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