), O.E. -ol, -ul, -el; and -ing, suffix indicating "person or thing of a specific kind or origin; in masc. nouns also "son of" (cf. farthing
, O.E. 'horing
"adulterer, fornicator"). Both these suffixes had occasional dim. force, but this was only slightly evident in O.E. -ling and its equivalents in Gmc. languages except O.N., where it commonly was used as a diminutive suffix, especially in words designating the young of animals (e.g. gæslingr "gosling"). Thus it is possible that the diminutive use that developed in Middle English is from Old Norse.