yearn

verb \ ˈyərn \

Definition of yearn

intransitive verb
1 :to long persistently, wistfully, or sadly
  • yearns to make a difference
2 :to feel tenderness or compassion

yearner

noun

yearningly

play \ˈyər-niŋ-lē\ adverb

Recent Examples of yearn from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yearn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of yearn

Middle English yernen, from Old English giernan; akin to Old High German gerōn to desire, Latin hortari to urge, encourage, Greek chairein to rejoice

Synonym Discussion of yearn

long, yearn, hanker, pine, hunger, thirst mean to have a strong desire for something. long implies a wishing with one's whole heart and often a striving to attain.
    • longed for some rest
yearn suggests an eager, restless, or painful longing.
    • yearned for a stage career
hanker suggests the uneasy promptings of unsatisfied appetite or desire.
    • always hankering for money
pine implies a languishing or a fruitless longing for what is impossible.
    • pined for a lost love
hunger and thirst imply an insistent or impatient craving or a compelling need.
    • hungered for a business of his own
    • thirsted for power

YEARN Defined for English Language Learners

yearn

verb

Definition of yearn for English Language Learners

  • : to feel a strong desire or wish for something or to do something


YEARN Defined for Kids

yearn

verb \ ˈyərn \

Definition of yearn for Students

yearned; yearning
:to desire very much

Synonym Discussion of yearn

yearn, long, and pine mean to desire something very much. yearn is used of a very eager desiring along with restless or painful feelings.
    • They're yearning for freedom.
long is used when someone truly wants something and often tries very hard to get it.
    • She longed to become a successful writer.
pine is used when someone is growing weak while continuing to want something that is impossible to get.
    • She was pining away for her long lost friend.


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