What does yearn mean?

Definitions for yearn

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word yearn.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hanker, long, yearnverb

    desire strongly or persistently

  2. ache, yearn, yen, pine, languishverb

    have a desire for something or someone who is not present

    "She ached for a cigarette"; "I am pining for my lover"

  3. yearnverb

    have affection for; feel tenderness for


  1. yearnverb

    To long, have a strong desire (for something).

  2. yearnverb

    To long back with melancholy, nostalgically

  3. Etymology: From giernan, from girnijanan.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Yearnverb

    To grieve; to vex.

    She laments for it, that it would
    Yern your heart to see it. William Shakespeare.

  2. To Yearnverb

    To feel great internal uneasiness. In Edmund Spenser it is sometimes earn.

    Etymology: earnan , Saxon.

    He despis’d to tread in due degree,
    But chaff’d, and foam’d, with courage fierce and stern,
    And to be eas’d of that base burden still did yearn. Edmund Spenser.

    Make the libbard stern
    Leave roaring, when in rage he for revenge did yearn. Edmund Spenser.

    Though peeping close into the thick,
    Might see the moving of some quick:
    But were it fairy, fiend, or snake,
    My courage earned it to wake,
    And manfully thereat shot. Edmund Spenser.

    Falstaff, he is dead,
    And we must yern therefore. William Shakespeare, Hen. V.

    Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yern upon his brother: and he sought where to weep, and he enter’d into his chamber. Gen. xliii. 30.

    When the fair Leucothoe he spy’d,
    To check his steeds, impatient Phœbus yearn’d,
    Though all the world was in his course concern’d. Edmund Waller.

    Yet for all the yearning pain
    Y’ have suffer’d for their loves, in vain,
    I fear they’ll prove so nice and coy,
    To have, and t’ hold, and to enjoy. Hudibras.

    Where our heart does but relent, his melts; where our eye pities, his bowels yearn. Robert South, Sermons.

    At beholding the miseries of others, they find such yearnings in their bowels, and such sensible commotions raised in their breasts, as they can by no means satisfy. Edmund Calamy.

    Your mother’s heart yearns towards you. Addison.

    Unmov’d the mind of Ithacus remain’d;
    But Anticlus, unable to controul,
    Spoke loud the language of his yearning soul. Alexander Pope.


  1. yearn

    Yearn means to have a strong desire or longing for someone or something. It is a deep and intense feeling of wanting or craving. It typically implies a sense of emotional or sentimental attachment, longing, or yearning.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Yearnverb

    to pain; to grieve; to vex

  2. Yearnverb

    to be pained or distressed; to grieve; to mourn

  3. Yearn

    to curdle, as milk

  4. Yearnverb

    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

  5. Etymology: [See Yearnings.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Yearn

    yėrn, v.i. to feel earnest desire: to feel uneasiness, as from longing or pity.—n. Yearn′ing, earnest desire, tenderness, or pity.—adj. longing.—adv. Yearn′ingly. [A.S. giernan, giernian, to desire—georn, desirous, eager; cf. Ger. begehren. to long for.]

  2. Yearn

    yėrn, v.i. and v.t. (Shak.) to grieve. [M. E. ermen—A.S. yrman, to vex—earm, poor.]

  3. Yearn

    yėrn, v.t. (Spens.) to earn.

  4. Yearn

    yėrn, v.i. to curdle, as milk—also Earn.—n. Yearn′ing, rennet.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for yearn »

  1. aryne

  2. Rayne

  3. Yaren

  4. yarne

  5. enray

How to pronounce yearn?

How to say yearn in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of yearn in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of yearn in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of yearn in a Sentence

  1. Czon:

    I'm always looking for my place in life and always yearn away to somewhere else, some other time.

  2. Richard Herzinger:

    This alienation from Brussels makes some Germans yearn for a national party like the AFD that truly represents their own national interests.

  3. Jose Ortega y Gasset:

    Life is a series of collisions with the future it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.

  4. Prime Minister Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay:

    We must find ways of energizing GNH in rural areas, so young people build their careers and families in our beautiful villages as mature modern men and women, and don't only yearn for the city lights.

  5. Mark Sanford:

    I wouldn't say it made my day, and it's not what anybody would yearn for in the world of politics, but it is what it is.

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Translations for yearn

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"yearn." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 24 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/yearn>.

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