yearn

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

The verb is derived from Middle English yernen, yern (to express or feel desire; to desire, long or wish for; to lust after; to ask or demand for) [and other forms],[1] from Old English ġeornan (to desire, yearn; to beg) [and other forms], from Proto-West Germanic *girnijan (to be eager for, desire), from Proto-Germanic *girnijaną (to desire, want), from *gernaz (eager, willing) (from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer- (to yearn for)) + *-janą (suffix forming factitive verbs from adjectives).[2]

The noun is derived from the verb.[3]

Verb[edit]

yearn (third-person singular simple present yearns, present participle yearning, simple past and past participle yearned)

  1. (intransitive, also figuratively) To have a strong desire for something or to do something; to long for or to do something.
    All I yearn for is a simple life.
    1. (specifically) To long for something in the past with melancholy or nostalgia.
  2. (intransitive) Of music, words, etc.: to express strong desire or longing.
  3. (intransitive, dated) To have strong feelings of affection, love, sympathy, etc., toward someone.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To be distressed or pained; to grieve; to mourn.
  5. (transitive) Often followed by out: to perform (music) which conveys or say (words) which express strong desire or longing.
  6. (transitive, archaic or poetic) To have a strong desire or longing (for something or to do something).
    Synonym: earn (obsolete)
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To cause (someone) to have strong feelings of affection, love, sympathy, etc.; also, to grieve or pain (someone).
    Synonym: earn (obsolete)
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene v], page 52, column 2:
      Well, ſhe laments Sir for it, that it would yern your heart to see it: []
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii], page 86, column 2:
      It yernes me not, if men my Garments weare; / Nor care I who doth feed vpon my coſt: / Such outward things dwell not in my deſires. / But if it be a ſinne to couet Honor, / I am the moſt offending Soule aliue.
    • 1833, [William Hamilton Maxwell], “Badger-hunting”, in The Field Book: Or, Sports and Pastimes of the United Kingdom; [], London: Effingham Wilson, OCLC 57230597, page 31, column 2:
      When the badger finds that the terriers yearn him in his burrow, he will stop the hole between him and the terriers; []
    • 1834 June 25, Leigh Hunt, “A Pinch of Snuff (Concluded.)”, in Leigh Hunt’s London Journal, volume I, number 13, London: Charles Knight, []; and Henry Hooper, [], OCLC 276731836, page 98, column 1:
      Wants to sneeze and cannot do it! / Now it yearns me, thrills me, stings me, / Now with rapturous torment wrings me, / Now says “Sneeze, you fool; get through it.”
Conjugation[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun[edit]

yearn (plural yearns)

  1. A strong desire or longing; a yearning, a yen.
    • 1917 August 12, "A YEARN FOR PEACE; Pan-Germanism Denounced" Sunday Times (Perth, WA) p.1
    • 1979 Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song
      Gibbs now said he wasn't going to pull any punches with Gary when he knew how jealous a man could get, so he also wanted to tell him that Phil Hansen was reputed to have a yearn for attractive ladies.
    • 2010 Frank Buchmann-Moller Someone to Watch Over Me: The Life and Music of Ben Webster (University of Michigan Press) →ISBN p.57
      "After he had made a record date with us in 1935, I always had a yearn for Ben," he said years later.
    • 2014 February 13, AFP, "Why internet adultery numbers are soaring" New Zealand Herald
      "My guess, however, is that it has because there are many people who have a yearn for sex outside their relationship but wouldn't have the slightest idea about how to do it or do it safely," Prof Schwartz added.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably either:[4]

Verb[edit]

yearn (third-person singular simple present yearns, present participle yearning, simple past and past participle yearned)

  1. (Northern England, Scotland, intransitive)
    1. Of milk: to curdle, especially in the cheesemaking process.
      Synonyms: earn (obsolete or regional), run
    2. Of cheese: to be made from curdled milk.
  2. (Northern England, Scotland, transitive)
    1. To curdle (milk), especially in the cheesemaking process.
    2. To make (cheese) from curdled milk.
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ yernen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ Compare “yearn, v.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “yearn, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  3. ^ yearn, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2018
  4. ^ yearn, v.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020
  5. ^ rennen, v.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.

Anagrams[edit]