Definition of longing in English:



  • A yearning desire.

    ‘Miranda felt a wistful longing for the old days’
    [mass noun] ‘a tale of love and longing’
    • ‘These are among the most powerful expressions of human dreams and hopes, ideals and longings.’
    • ‘Genesis 2 implies that God made humanity male and female to satisfy the human longing for companionship.’
    • ‘The longings and legitimate desires for approval, acceptance and understanding are cut off.’
    • ‘She'd suffered the same longing for companionship.’
    • ‘The seven surviving letters from the period detail these attempts and betray unfulfilled longing.’
    • ‘I heard their despair and their longings to be freed to return to the life they once enjoyed.’
    • ‘This looking backward and preference for bygone days involved more than nostalgic or homesick longings.’
    • ‘I personally feel there is a deep longing for intimacy and friendship among the young.’
    • ‘The longing for comfort, for deep intimacy, impels the divorced to rush back into a married state.’
    • ‘Give yourself the breathing room necessary to feel your deepest longings and desires.’
    • ‘He had a gift for expressing the longings and anxieties of his contemporary audiences.’
    • ‘They combine in her mind, and she feels intense longing.’
    • ‘Their university days are always recalled with a nostalgic longing.’
    • ‘I particularly liked the way they felt free to express their feelings and longings through the anonymity of their letters.’
    • ‘Her poetry is nostalgic and betrays her own longing for her beloved homeland.’
    • ‘Suddenly Guinevere was overtaken by an intense longing for companionship.’
    • ‘Our longings go beyond the need for food, clothing and shelter.’
    • ‘Maybe it is about trying to satisfy a deep longing in the wrong ways.’
    • ‘It signifies the love and longings of the women who make it.’
    • ‘The longing for a proper home grows stronger and stronger with each passing day.’
    yearning, pining, craving, ache, burning, hunger, thirst, itch, urge, lust, hankering, need, eagerness, zeal, covetousness
    wish, fancy, desire, want
    hope, aspiration, dream
    View synonyms


  • [attributive] Having or showing a yearning desire.

    ‘her longing eyes’
    • ‘Throwing my own vehicle a last, longing glance in the Ford tester parking lot, I resigned myself to a long week.’
    • ‘Trey smiled at her apologetically before turning and shooting a longing glance over his shoulder.’
    • ‘Prayer meetings are moving where there is a longing desire and yearning for answers from heaven.’
    • ‘I saw him because I understood exactly what was being reflected in that longing gaze of his.’
    • ‘Of course, there are a lot more pratfalls, comedic lines, wacky mishaps and longing glances, but you get the picture.’
    • ‘She gazed back at the couple in her rear view mirror, a wistful, longing expression in her blue-green eyes.’
    • ‘He got up and went out, with one last longing look back.’
    • ‘Rebecca looked up into his eyes as he took one last longing look at her.’
    • ‘However, that didn't stop her from throwing longing glances at it over her shoulder as she continued on.’
    • ‘After one last longing look at a photo, he blew out the candles.’
    • ‘She cast one more longing look at the tempting bed before she walked to the window.’
    • ‘A longing glance at the lemonade jug told her it was empty.’
    • ‘With one last longing glance to the colorful forests, I followed.’
    • ‘The second aspect is the trust of desire, or longing trust.’
    • ‘Aspirations and longing feelings colour your reasoning but your power of concentration might be impaired.’
    • ‘He gave her one last longing glance, grabbed his duster, and walked out the door.’
    • ‘After one longing look down the path, she turned around, and started running back the way she'd come.’
    • ‘Sarah would shoot longing looks and bright smiles in Ryan's direction, and Ryan would never notice.’
    • ‘She had a longing look on her face as she stared at the dress.’
    • ‘Being famous for something just isn't necessary in his rather longing eyes.’
    yearning, desirous, pining, craving, hungry, thirsty, hankering, avid, covetous
    wishful, hopeful, wistful
    View synonyms