1 : a dearly loved person
2 : favorite
Did You Know?
The origins of "darling" can be found in the very heart of the English language; its earliest known uses can be traced back to Old English writings from the 9th century. Old English "deorling" was formed by attaching the Old English suffix "-ling" ("one associated with or marked by a specified quality") with the adjective "dēore," the ancestor of our adjective "dear" ("regarded very affectionately or fondly," "highly valued or esteemed," "beloved"). English speakers appear to have developed a fondness for "darling" and have held on to it for over a thousand years now. And though its spelling has changed over time -- including variations such as "dyrling," "derlinge," and "dearling" -- "darling" has maintained its original sense of "one dearly loved."
The youngest of three children, she was always her parents' little darling.
"A darling of Martha Stewart and Alice Waters, the Meyer -- nicknamed 'the gourmet lemon' -- also has become a favorite of California gardeners." -- From an article by Debbie Arrington in the Sacramento Bee, December 14, 2011
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