Definition of darling in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɑːlɪŋ/


1Used as an affectionate form of address to a beloved person: good night, darling
More example sentences
  • ‘You look lovely every night, my darling,’ he responded, stretching his hand towards her.
  • Come sit by me, my little darlings, my babies, my own.
  • There, right outside my door, stood him, my darling, my love.
dear, dearest, dear one, love, lover, sweetheart, beloved, sweet
informal honey, angel, pet, sweetie, sugar, babe, baby, doll, poppet, treasure, lover boy
archaic sweeting
1.1A lovable or endearing person: he’s such a darling
More example sentences
  • So the next time you find yourself disappointed in Nancy's favourite sports star, ask yourself why it was that the only qualifications you required for a good role model for your darling were good stick handling or a sweet free throw.
  • The onus is on you to put magic into each moment spent in your darling's company.
  • ‘Your two favourite things,’ sighed my darling as she headed for bed.
1.2A person who is particularly popular with a certain group: he is the darling of Labour’s left wing
More example sentences
  • His wit and brilliance made him the darling of the popular cause.
  • He was the darling of the West and a popular personality in regional and international forums.
  • He's always fashioned himself as the darling of the left.
favourite, pet, apple of one's eye, celebrity, idol, hero, heroine
informal blue-eyed boy/girl
North American informal fair-haired boy/girl


1Beloved: his darling wife
More example sentences
  • He also prayed for Jonathan's mother, who had never been the same since losing both her beloved husband and darling daughter, and for her son.
  • He was predeceased by his darling wife, Maureen, and their son Pat.
  • In his letter to Joanne, he wrote: ‘For my darling Jo Jo, I have never loved a soul the way I love you.’
dear, dearest, precious, adored, loved, beloved, much loved, favourite, cherished, treasured, prized, esteemed, worshipped, idolized, lionized
1.1(In affected use) pretty; charming: a darling little pillbox hat
More example sentences
  • Ava packed all kinds of cute little outfits for the bush including some sweet sweater sets and a darling pair of heels.
  • Haleigh has such a darling family - her baby sister is just gorgeous, though I don't think I can say the same for her younger brother.
  • Leading this group was a gorgeous blonde flapper dressed in darling scarlet and smoking a cigarette carelessly.


be a darling

informal Used as a friendly or encouraging preface to a request: be a darling and don’t mention I’m here
More example sentences
  • If you spot anything not right be a darling and tell me in the comments.
  • Yes, yes, Alicia, be a darling and save the mazurka for me.
  • Can you be a darling and get me a glass of lime juice?


Old English dēorling (see dear, -ling).

  • dear from Old English:

    Old English dēore is Germanic in origin and related to Dutch dier ‘beloved’, also to Dutch duur and German teuer ‘expensive’, showing that the word has long had the two senses it still has. Darling (Old English) was a pet form of ‘dear’, while dearth (Middle English) started out as a time when things were expensive through scarcity.

Words that rhyme with darling

sparling, starling

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dar|ling

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