- deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness: a widower’s yearning for his wife.
- an instance of such longing.
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.
- an intense or overpowering longing, desire, or need; craving
- (usually foll by for or after or an infinitive) to have an intense desire or longing (for); pine (for)
- to feel tenderness or affection
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.