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

Nina, so well played by Durn, who captures the young woman’s naked, desperate longing for escape into greatness, has thrown herself at Trigorin. Andrea Simakis, cleveland.com, "Dobama Theatre opens 60th season with ‘Stupid (Bleeping) Bird,’ a meta fine sendup of Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’," 13 Sep. 2019 There was something pure about my fandom, an unabashed teen longing that didn’t know to hold back. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Superfans: A Love Story," 9 Sep. 2019 Sonny manifests masculine dissatisfaction and eternal longing. Armond White, National Review, "Bottom of the 9th: Sympathy for the Underdog," 6 Sep. 2019 Writing poetry feels like that longing fulfilled, a line at a time. Barbara Kingsolver, Washington Post, "How Barbara Kingsolver reignited her love affair with words," 27 Aug. 2019 Schumann’s pastoral idyll, with its forests and flowers, is still there, but this version gives new meaning to the gentle longing that runs through the work like a river. Oussama Zahr, The New Yorker, "Fall Classical-Music Preview," 16 Aug. 2019 But repeating the formulation in the morning does mute the pernicious aspects of my ambition so that longing doesn’t get in the way of doing. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Use these mantras to start, power through, and finish your day," 10 Aug. 2019 Fantasy enchants, carrying us off into dream worlds that stir our darkest fears and sharpest longings. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "MFA takes visitors to ‘delectable’ fantasy worlds with two new exhibitions," 8 Aug. 2019 The announcement offers a green light to start layering the unborn person with signifiers: to plan outfits and decorate rooms, to imagine bonding rituals, to project your own insecurities and unfulfilled longings. Carina Chocano, New York Times, "When Gender Reveal Videos Go Spectacularly, Cathartically Wrong," 1 Aug. 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

17 Sep 2019

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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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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