\ 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

Other Words from yearn

yearner noun
yearningly \ ˈyər-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce yearn (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

Examples of yearn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Viewers will yearn for the ballast of clearer insights about the era. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 31 May 2022 Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. James Freeman, WSJ, 16 May 2022 This has led more employees to yearn for more outside of work. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 19 Apr. 2022 The girls yearn to catch an upcoming concert featuring their favorite crushworthy boy band, 4-Town (inexplicably, there are five of them). Michael Phillips,, 8 Mar. 2022 But considering the relatively low profile she’s maintained since the arrival of her 2019 live album Homecoming, this Oscars moment is one for the books—and enough to make fans yearn for more music. ELLE, 28 Mar. 2022 Many of them yearn for bonds that will never manifest. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 31 Mar. 2022 Those who yearn for the days when on-the-go keyboards weren't all touchscreens can appreciate the Penkesu's compact mechanical keyboard. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 15 Feb. 2022 Or at least who yearn for a more tender connection? Steff Yotka, Vogue, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for yearn

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

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Yearly Meeting



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Last Updated

9 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Yearn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for yearn


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

Kids Definition of yearn

: to desire very much

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on yearn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yearn

Nglish: Translation of yearn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yearn for Arabic Speakers


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