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yearn

[yurn] /yɜrn/
verb (used without object)
1.
to have an earnest or strong desire; long:
to yearn for a quiet vacation.
2.
to feel tenderness; be moved or attracted:
They yearned over their delicate child.
Origin of yearn
900
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
Related forms
yearner, noun
unyearned, adjective
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for yearn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All my life hangs on that, I can do nothing else but pray for that—pray for it and yearn for it!

  • Others may yearn for the strenuous life, but not your humble servant.

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The laborer may be led to despise his well-paid tasks and yearn for their ease, and thus become indolent.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
  • He had yearned for it, as a child might yearn for a plaything.

  • Oh, you cannot guess how I long, how I yearn, to view that child under the holy fostering eyes of a woman.

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for yearn

yearn

/jɜːn/
verb (intransitive)
1.
usually foll by for or after or an infinitive. to have an intense desire or longing (for); pine (for)
2.
to feel tenderness or affection
Derived Forms
yearner, noun
Word Origin
Old English giernan; related to Old Saxon girnian, Old Norse girna, Gothic gairnjan, Old High German gerōn to long for, Sanskrit haryati he likes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yearn
v.

Old English geornan (Mercian), giernan (West Saxon), giorna (Northumbrian), from Proto-Germanic *gernijanan (cf. Gothic gairnjan "to desire," German begehren "to desire"), from *gernaz (cf. Old High German gern, Old Norse gjarn "desirous," Old English georn "eager, desirous," German gern "gladly, willingly"), from PIE root *gher- "to like, want" (see hortatory). Related: Yearned; yearning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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