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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Barack Obama was no darling of the right, but in the months leading up to the 2010 midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi was featured in more than twice as many Republican attack ads than the man who was then serving as president. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Pelosi’ tracks the career of a powerful, driven politician," 11 May 2020 Here's where things stand: Buttigieg spent big in Iowa and New Hampshire The young Democrat has been a darling of the donor class, routinely outraising higher profile candidates. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Pete Buttigieg faces obstacles in the Nevada caucus and beyond. Here's what he needs.," 21 Feb. 2020 Massie's political reckoning Massie is a darling among tea party activists in Northern Kentucky, and is a popular figure among constitutional conservative lawmakers and groups nationally. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "President Donald Trump: Throw Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie out of the GOP," 27 Mar. 2020 Schitt's Creek launched on a negligible cable channel to limited acclaim, only to gradually become an audience favorite, a critical darling and even an awards contender. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Despite Flaws, 'Modern Family' Leaves a Legacy to Love," 9 Apr. 2020 Yet in terms of crowd size and reaction, Buttigieg was the apparent darling. Brian Slodysko, Indianapolis Star, "'I join you for the first time as a retiree': Pete Buttigieg addresses U.S. mayor's conference," 23 Jan. 2020 Missing for almost four years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "TV pilots guide: Every new network show in the works for fall 2020," 1 Feb. 2020 Such raids were headline-grabbing events that helped make media darlings of the prosecutors. Jeffrey T. Lewis, WSJ, "Brazil Prosecutors Charge U.S. Journalist Glenn Greenwald With Cybercrimes," 21 Jan. 2020 Born premature at just 29 pounds and unable to stand and nurse herself, she was cared for by zoo staff and soon became a media darling. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "2010-2019: Greater Cincinnati stories of the decade," 30 Dec. 2019 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about darling

Time Traveler for darling

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about darling

Statistics for darling

Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Darling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/darling. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on darling

What made you want to look up darling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!