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See also: Darling


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English dereling, from Old English dēorling (darling, favorite, minion; also household god), corresponding to dear +‎ -ling.



darling (plural darlings)

  1. A person who is dear to one.
    Mary, the youngest daughter, was always her mother's darling.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond, his grandfather's darling, after one thoughtful glance cast under his lashes at that uncompromising countenance appeared to lose himself in his own reflections.
  2. A kind or sweet person; sweetheart.
    The girl next door picks up all my shopping for me. She is such a darling.
  3. An affectionate term of address.
    Pass the wine, would you darling?
  4. (by extension) A person or thing very popular with a certain group.
    a media darling
    a darling of the theatre
    • 2011 December 15, Felicity Cloake, “How to cook the perfect nut roast”, in Guardian:
      If there's such a thing as pariah food – a recipe shunned by mainstream menus, mocked to near extinction and consigned to niche hinterlands for evermore – then the nut roast, a dish whose very name has become a watchword for sawdusty disappointment, is surely a strong contender. One of the darlings of the early vegetarian movement (particularly in its even sadder form, the cutlet), it was on the menu at John Harvey Kellogg's Battle Creek Sanitarium [sic], and has since become the default Sunday option for vegetarians – and a default source of derision for everyone else.


Derived terms[edit]



darling (comparative darlinger, superlative darlingest)

  1. Dear; cherished.
    She is my darling wife of twenty-two years.
  2. charming
    Well isn't that a darling little outfit she has on.

Usage notes[edit]

darlinger is rarely used.