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Yearn

Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:57 pm
by Dr. Goodword

• yearn •


Pronunciation: yêrn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To have a strong, wistful longing, crave. 2. To be deeply moved, to sympathize, to grieve. 3. (Milk) To curdle or coagulate or cause to coagulate, especially in the production of cheese.

Notes: Today's Good Word is an indigenous English word, so it is subject only to English derivation. Someone who yearns in either of the first two senses is a yearner, who is yearnful. The action noun and (another) adjective is the present participle yearning. The difference between the two adjectives is that yearnful may mean "as though yearning", while yearning implies we actually yearn.

In Play: This verb is most popularly used intransitively with the preposition for: "Luke yearned for his wife's return for years after she left him." However, it may be used with verbs, introduced by to: "His long speeches made his audiences yearn to go home." The second sense of this word is less often used but is still available: "He yearned over his friend Gretchen after her mother's death."

Word History: In Old English today's word was giernan, from Old Germanic gernjan "to desire", source also of German begehren "to desire" and gern "gladly, willingly". Gernjan was built on PIE gher-/ghor- "to long for, covet, yearn", source also, with the benefit of metathesis, of greedy and Greek chre "it is necessary". Greek charenai "to be glad, happy" originates in the same word, as does Icelandic gjarn "willing". (Patricia Waddy, a translator who is a newcomer to our series, saw the intrigue in today's Good Word and brought it to our attention.)

Re: Yearn

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:33 am
by Slava
To use all three meanings, albeit metaphorically, we could say, 'the pandemic has left most of us yearning.' At least I feel that I'm coagulating, congealing, and turning into a solid lump. :evil:

I'd like to know more about the cheesy definition. :?:

Re: Yearn

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:12 pm
by Dr. Goodword
Not being a cheese-maker, I was as surprised as you at the third definition and cannot supply anything beyond what I found in the dictionaries.

Re: Yearn

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:32 pm
by Philip Hudson
Expatriate Texans all yearn for the day they can return.
See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzcMUQ3ay9E

Re: Yearn

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:58 am
by David Myer
While reading this one, I idly wondered whether 'yen' might be related to yearn. So I looked it up. It appears not! Yen in the sense of yearn comes from the Chinese word for a craving for opium. Although... But it is difficult to see that the Chinese might have come from the same PIE root. Have I missed something?

Re: Yearn

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:18 am
by Slava
Hmm, "my yin has a yen for yuan and yen?" Could there be a relation between and among all of these? Greed, money, desire all do go together.