Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To have a strong, often sad longing.
  • intransitive verb To feel deep pity, sympathy, or tenderness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as earn.
  • To grieve; mourn; sorrow.
  • To grieve; trouble; vex.
  • Same as earn.
  • To long for something; desire eagerly; feel desire or longing.
  • To cry out eagerly; give tongue, as a dog.
  • noun A dialectal (Scotch) form of earn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To pain; to grieve; to vex.
  • intransitive verb To be filled with longing desire; to be harassed or rendered uneasy with longing, or feeling the want of a thing; to strain with emotions of affection or tenderness; to long; to be eager.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To be pained or distressed; to grieve; to mourn.
  • verb Scot. To curdle, as milk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To long, have a strong desire (for something).
  • verb intransitive To long back with melancholy, nostalgically

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb desire strongly or persistently
  • verb have a desire for something or someone who is not present
  • verb have affection for; feel tenderness for

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English yernen, from Old English geornan, giernan; see gher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English giernan, from Proto-Germanic *girnijanan.

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • yearn (yûrn)

    intr.v. yearned, yearn·ing, yearns

    1. To have a strong, often melancholy desire.

    2. To feel deep pity, sympathy, or tenderness: yearned over the child's fate.

    Middle English yernen, from Old English geornan, giernan; see gher-2 in Indo-European roots.

    June 3, 2008

  • From a dictionary that has etymologies in square brackets :-)

    June 3, 2008

  • Now it seems to me, some fine things

    Have been laid upon your table

    But you only want the ones that you can't get...

    -The Eagles, Desperado

    July 28, 2009

  • vex, grieve, be eager, earn (all of these and more)

    February 8, 2013