Old English deorling "darling, favorite minion," double diminutive of deor "dear" (see dear (adj.)). The vowel shift from -e- to -a- (16c.) is usual for -er- followed by a consonant. "It is better to be An olde mans derlyng, than a yong mans werlyng" (1562).
1. Oat bran became the darling of health freaks last year.
2. Darling Neville, I couldn't be more pleased for you.
3. Oh dear, there's the doorbell. See who it is, would you, darling.
4. I once went camping at Lake Darling with a friend.
5. Darling how lovely to see you, you look simply divine.