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

fave, favorite, minion, pet, preference, speed

Synonyms: Adjective

beloved, cherished, dear, fair-haired, favored, favorite, fond, loved, pet, precious, special, sweet, white-headed

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


She was mother's little darling. for a while that candidate was the darling of the news media and could do no wrong


This is my darling daughter, Sara. That dress is just darling.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Others were simply overjoyed at the darling reveal and couldn't resist sharing their excitement with the Twittersphere. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Baby Sussex Made His Official Debut and Twitter Collectively Lost Its Mind," 8 May 2019 This spring, coach Porter Moser’s Loyola-Chicago Ramblers have become the darlings of a basketball-crazed city, the spunky Cinderellas who don’t particularly care for that designation. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "An Unlikely Reviver of Chicago's Hoops Title Dreams, Loyola Has Become the Darling of the City," 28 Mar. 2018 Conel became the darling of the crowd with his spectacular throw. Pat Galbincea, cleveland.com, "Penn State passes Ohio State for lead at NCAA Wrestling Championships (photos)," 17 Mar. 2018 While this latest choice may raise some eyebrows (a sparkly harness isn’t for everyone, after all), Chalamet continues to shine bright as a bonafide fashion darling. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Timothée Chalamet Took His Mom to the Golden Globes—and She Wore Fashion’s Buzziest Label," 7 Jan. 2019 With five Golden Globes nominations and the potential for Oscar nods as well, Green Book is already being touted as an awards season darling. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Don Shirley's Family Questions Green Book's Accuracy," 5 Jan. 2019 Separate research has that found higher wages are now concentrated at exceptionally profitable tech darlings like Facebook, where federal filings show median pay topped $240,000 last year. chicagotribune.com, "Weak pay growth puzzles Fed chief, just like everyone else," 14 June 2018 First base Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants has been one of the Statcast darlings this year, at least in terms of his ability to barrel the ball. Stephen Nickrand, USA TODAY, "Statcast can help uncover hidden gems," 23 May 2018 Here's to hoping future family holidays come with more pics of the darling Kardashian-West little ones dressed in precious festive outfits. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Just Shared the Cutest Portrait with Chicago and Kanye West," 6 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near darling

dark whites





Darling lily

Darling pea

Statistics for darling

Last Updated

21 May 2019

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Time Traveler for darling

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

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More Definitions for darling



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with darling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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