1. A dearly beloved person.
2. One that is greatly liked or preferred; a favorite: "the pride and vanity of the rich, the darlings of fate" (Mario Puzo).
1. Dearly beloved.
2. Regarded with special favor; favorite: "Metaphysics and poetry ... are my darling studies" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).
3. Informal Charming or amusing: a darling hat.
[Middle English dereling, from Old English dēorling : dēore, dear + -ling, diminutive suff.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.