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changeling

[cheynj-ling] /ˈtʃeɪndʒ lɪŋ/
noun
1.
a child surreptitiously or unintentionally substituted for another.
2.
(in folklore) an ugly, stupid, or strange child left by fairies in place of a pretty, charming child.
3.
Philately. a postage stamp that, by accident or intention, has been chemically changed in color.
4.
Archaic.
  1. a renegade or turncoat.
  2. an imbecile.
Origin of changeling
1545-1555
1545-55; change + -ling1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for changeling
  • The great singer was one of those for whom the word changeling was invented.
  • Playing the flute triggers his gift as a changeling, and each night he turns into a pack rat.
  • She discovers that she is a changeling with a special destiny that includes a handsome knight and a war.
  • He remains an ambiguous changeling, and so does she.
British Dictionary definitions for changeling

changeling

/ˈtʃeɪndʒlɪŋ/
noun
1.
a child believed to have been exchanged by fairies for the parents' true child
2.
(archaic)
  1. an idiot
  2. a fickle or changeable person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for changeling
n.

1550s, "one given to change," from change (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling. Meaning "person or thing left in place of one secretly taken" is from 1560s; specific reference to an infant or young child (usually stupid or ugly) supposedly left by the faeries in place of one they took is from 1580s. An earlier word for it was oaf or auf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for changeling

0
22
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