Synonym Chooser

How is the word yearn distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of yearn are hanker, hunger, long, pine, and thirst. While all these words mean "to have a strong desire for something," yearn suggests an eager, restless, or painful longing.

yearned for a stage career

Where would hanker be a reasonable alternative to yearn?

The synonyms hanker and yearn are sometimes interchangeable, but hanker suggests the uneasy promptings of unsatisfied appetite or desire.

always hankering for money

How are the words hunger and thirst related as synonyms of yearn?

Both hunger and thirst imply an insistent or impatient craving or a compelling need.

hungered for a business of his own
thirsted for power

When could long be used to replace yearn?

Although the words long and yearn have much in common, long implies a wishing with one's whole heart and often a striving to attain.

longed for some rest

When might pine be a better fit than yearn?

The words pine and yearn can be used in similar contexts, but pine implies a languishing or a fruitless longing for what is impossible.

pined for a lost love

Thesaurus Entries Near yearn

Cite this Entry

“Yearn.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on yearn

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