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darling (n.)

Middle English dereling, from Old English deorling, dyrling "one who is much beloved, a favorite," double diminutive of deor "dear" (see dear (adj.)). The vowel shift from -e- to -a- (16c.) is usual for -er- followed by a consonant (see marsh).

As an adjective "very dear, particularly beloved," from 1590s; in affected use, "sweetly charming" (1805). "It is better to be An olde mans derlyng, than a yong mans werlyng" (1562).

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Definitions of darling from WordNet
1
darling (n.)
a special loved one;
Synonyms: favorite / favourite / pet / dearie / deary / ducky
2
darling (adj.)
dearly loved;
Synonyms: beloved / dear
3
Darling (n.)
an Australian river; tributary of the Murray River;
Synonyms: Darling River
From wordnet.princeton.edu