yearn [yurn] /yɜrn/ Show IPA
verb (used without object)
to have an earnest or strong desire; long:
to yearn for a quiet vacation.
to feel tenderness; be moved or attracted:
They yearned over their delicate child.
before 900; Middle English yernen, Old English giernan derivative of georn eager; akin to Old Norse girna to desire, Greek chaírein to rejoice, Sanskrit háryati (he) desires
1. Yearn, long, hanker, pine all mean to feel a powerful desire for something. Yearn stresses the depth and passionateness of a desire: to yearn to get away and begin a new life; to yearn desperately for recognition. Long implies a wholehearted desire for something that is or seems unattainable: to long to relive one's childhood; to long for the warmth of summer. Hanker suggests a restless or incessant craving to fulfill some urge or desire: to hanker for a promotion; to hanker after fame and fortune. Pine adds the notion of physical or emotional suffering as a result of the real or apparent hopelessness of one's desire: to pine for one's native land; to pine for a lost love.