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

Definition of longing

: a strong desire especially for something unattainable : craving

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Cockroft theorizes the adoption surge comes from people being home all day and longing for animal companionship. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio ‘foster mom’ helps place dogs in new homes as adoptions have increased during the coronavirus pandemic," 26 June 2020 There’s also a goofy subplot involving Lars’ refusal to acknowledge Sigrit’s longing for him. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Has One Winner, and It’s Not the Movie’s Leads," 24 June 2020 At its core, the quest to update the Game Boy is one fueled by nostalgia, and a longing for a simpler time. Brendan Nystedt, Wired, "Retro Hackers Are Building a Better Nintendo Game Boy," 10 June 2020 Right now, there is a deep longing not simply for other ways of living but for those other ways of living to be acknowledged in culture and supported in society. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 Those longing to support Portland’s foundering economy and its armada of sinking small businesses? oregonlive, "When Multnomah County reopens, will Portlanders risk returning to normal during coronavirus?," 14 June 2020 In narratives studded with biblical quotations, the themes common to their stories are faith, death, anxiety about the state of the world, and a longing for someone to fix it. Peter Manseau, The New Republic, "The Christian Martyrdom Movement Ascends to the White House," 5 June 2020 That innocent curiosity has matured into a bold confidence as the lyrics in the new album openly express an unrestrained longing. Kat Moon, Time, "The 4 Biggest Takeaways From TWICE's New Album MORE & MORE," 5 June 2020 Pastor said the problems society faces stem from a lack of, and longing for, freedom. Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Pastor: 'End the curfew'," 2 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of longing

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about longing

Time Traveler for longing

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for longing

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Longing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/longing. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for longing


How to pronounce longing (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!