long·​ing | \ ˈlȯŋ-iŋ How to pronounce longing (audio) \

Definition of longing

: a strong desire especially for something unattainable : craving

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Other Words from longing

longingly \ ˈlȯŋ-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce longingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of longing in a Sentence

They looked with longing toward freedom. She cast a look of longing at the shop window. She never told anyone about her secret longings.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Quaranta’s longing might be closer to being realized. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Could a professional outdoor soccer team come to Baltimore? Many hope the city could support one.," 26 June 2019 When Eleanor tries to comfort June, the conversation turns to painful reflection, with Mrs. Lawrence longing for the man who courted her with mix tapes decades ago. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bradley Whitford Is More Confused By His Handmaid's Tale Character Than You," 20 June 2019 All the same, this reviewer could not help longing for a glimpse of Madonna the provocateur. C.m., The Economist, "Madonna remains scandalous, but for the wrong reason," 19 June 2019 Lazarus was followed by Revelations, Ailey’s iconic ballet of spiritual longing, first performed in 1960. Mankaprr Conteh, Vogue, "The Alvin Ailey School Celebrates 50 Years With a Moving Gala Performance," 14 June 2019 But now the role received a new dimension… Isolde’s longing was brought out in her voice, her body language, and her facial expressions. Martin Filler, The New York Review of Books, "Wagner’s Wonder Woman," 8 Sep. 2018 Still others, like the painter Glenn Ligon, whose No. 417 (Sweetheart) hangs in the Grey Art portion of the exhibit, offer achingly tender meditations on same-gender longing. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Lesbian ‘Propagandist’ Who Documented a Movement," 19 June 2019 Surprisingly, while Ruth has found a bigger role on the wrestling show and a new boyfriend, the trailer has her sharing longing glances with director Sam (Marc Maron). Marcus Jones, EW.com, "GLOW season 3 trailer promises more romance, wrestling, and Geena Davis in Las Vegas," 17 June 2019 Making an argument for his skills as an opera composer, the 23-year-old Mozart created something that sounds like a soprano and tenor exchanging lyrical lines of love and longing. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Let the SPCO send you into summer with memorable Mozart," 8 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'longing.' 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 longing

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for longing

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for longing

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

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More Definitions for longing



English Language Learners Definition of longing

: a strong desire for something or someone


long·​ing | \ ˈlȯŋ-iŋ How to pronounce longing (audio) \

Kids Definition of longing

: a very strong desire

Other Words from longing

longingly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on longing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for longing

Spanish Central: Translation of longing

Nglish: Translation of longing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of longing for Arabic Speakers

Comments on longing

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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