yearn

verb
\ ˈyərn How to pronounce yearn (audio) \
yearned; yearning; yearns

Definition of yearn

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from yearn

yearner noun
yearningly \ ˈyər-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce yearningly (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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, 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.

Examples of yearn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Market participants in Mumbai yearned for a leader who could deliver Chinese-style rapid growth. Washington Post, "Modi, Resist the Urge to Be India’s Xi Jinping," 18 Sep. 2019 Harket’s yearning voice spanned two and a half octaves, culminating in a super-high falsetto E5 that has undone many an overconfident karaoke singer. Rob Tannenbaum, Los Angeles Times, "‘Taaaake onnn meee!’ The unkillable, oh-so-profitable afterlife of a-ha’s ‘80s classic," 16 Sep. 2019 The former national swimmer still yearned to incorporate her passion for the water into a profession, but struggled to find the means to do so. Michelle Cohan, CNN, "Going the distance for a plastic-free ocean," 6 Sep. 2019 Four hundred years later, African Americans are yearning to understand better what and who was left behind. Heather Greenwood Davis, National Geographic, "What I’ve learned as a black traveler," 5 Sep. 2019 The critic clearly yearns for a similar development, a time of muscular governing to help the needy and to rein in the powerful. Fortune, "An Insider Takes Aim at Corporate America’s ‘Elite Charade’," 20 Aug. 2019 The third movement burned slowly with yearning for an ineffable something, and Campbell’s cello glowed with understated sweetness. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, "JCT Trio stuns in Rockport with superb Ives and Dvorák," 3 July 2019 The Lakers have posted the worst winning percentage in the league the past six years, and fans are yearning for action over words. Arash Markazi, latimes.com, "Jeanie Buss is ready to move past the drama and make the Lakers winners again," 26 June 2019 A couple years in, Gallaher was yearning to form a blues band. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al.com, "The ‘other guy’ in an iconic Huntsville band," 18 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of yearn

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for yearn

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for yearn

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

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More Definitions for yearn

yearn

verb
How to pronounce yearn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of yearn

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

yearn

verb
\ ˈyərn How to pronounce yearn (audio) \
yearned; yearning

Kids Definition of yearn

: to desire very much

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More from Merriam-Webster on yearn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yearn

Spanish Central: Translation of yearn

Nglish: Translation of yearn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yearn for Arabic Speakers

Comments on yearn

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