yearn·​ing ˈyər-niŋ How to pronounce yearning (audio)
: a tender or urgent longing
a yearning for justice

Example Sentences

had a sudden yearning for something sweet
Recent Examples on the Web Compassion for our yearning yields empathy for others’ desires. Time, 23 Dec. 2022 Because all of that striving and yearning is taken care of. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 9 Dec. 2022 Right now, that’s one big olfactive yearning for the days of mall hangouts and baking with mom. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, 8 Dec. 2022 That’s because Waldon wasn’t just singing about endless yearning up there. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2022 Adolescent uncertainty and yearning are key themes, explored with surprising depth given the breezy humor that is the musical’s predominant tone. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 True to form, Seo-rae and Hae-joon’s love is illicit and tragic, though the director forgoes the outrageous and the erotic to craft a chaste and yearning romance. Thomas Page, CNN, 20 Oct. 2022 Free of that mental and emotional yearning for answers, Shamet is free to flourish as a player, a son to his father who had dreams of playing in the NBA and a big brother to a newfound group of siblings. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 27 Sep. 2022 Yet something deep within, an insistent yearning, would not let go. Steve Marantz,, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of yearning was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near yearning

Cite this Entry

“Yearning.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a tender or eager longing

More from Merriam-Webster on yearning

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