Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To have a strong, often melancholy desire.
  • intransitive v. To feel deep pity, sympathy, or tenderness: yearned over the child's fate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • v. To curdle, as milk.
  • intransitive v. To be pained or distressed; to grieve; to mourn.
  • intransitive v. 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.
  • transitive v. To pain; to grieve; to vex.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • v. desire strongly or persistently
  • v. have a desire for something or someone who is not present
  • v. 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.

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.

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

    February 8, 2013

  • 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

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

    June 3, 2008

  • 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