Difference between Dear and Darling

Key Difference: Dear and darling both are used in context to address a person in an affectionate manner. Dear is most often used as friendly term and can be used to address someone, in order to show that you have good feelings for that person. Darling, as the word has same meaning as the meaning of word dear, but still it is most often used in context to addressing a beloved person. Dear can sometimes be used as a formal word, whereas darling as a word is most often used by a person to address someone who is close to that person’s heart.

You must have heard these terms many times in your life and definitely the use of these terms defines an affectionate feeling. It is very difficult to differentiate between the two as both are used as a form of address. However, there is a streak difference between the two, and that too has developed over all these years of usage. It may also differ from one society to the other. In this article, we will differentiate both on a general basis.

Oxford Dictionary defines dear as ‘used as an affectionate or friendly form of address’ and darling as ‘used as an affectionate form of address to a beloved person.’ One can easily see the similarity between the two. Both are used as a form of address and both are used in context to affectionate feelings. If we feel some affection towards a person, we can use either of them.

 The English word "darling" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word, ‘deorling’ meaning “beloved”. Similarly “dear” originated from Old English word ‘deore’ meaning “precious, valuable, costly, loved, beloved.” Thus, we can say that both are same in context to their original definitions. The only difference that can be defined on the basis of their usage in modern times.

In modern times, dear is used to address anybody with affection; like you may refer to your friends as dear ones. Dear indicates that you have good feelings for that person. This term may also be used while writing letters to friends, familiar or even unfamiliar people as Dear XYZ, this will simply denote that this letter is written with affection or in a friendly manner.

However, darling word has further redefined the definition of dear ones. It is mostly used in context to very dear ones, which means you can use this term to address a person with whom you share a close relationship. It is preferred by the couples in love to address each other. This term involves love as an ingredient. The love or closeness can be between any individuals. A mother can also use this term to address her child.

Thus, we can say that both are used as an affectionate form of address and are same in original definition. The only difference lies in the usage of these words in current scenario. Dear is used to address anyone in a friendly way, whereas darling is most often used to address a beloved one, someone who is very close to the heart.

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