a suffix of nouns formed from verbs, expressing the action of the verb or its result, product, material, etc. (the art of building; a new building; cotton wadding ). It is also used to form nouns from words other than verbs (offing; shirting ). Verbal nouns ending in -ing are often used attributively (the printing trade ) and in forming compounds (drinking song ). In some compounds (sewing machine ), the first element might reasonably be regarded as the participial adjective, -ing2, the compound thus meaning “a machine that sews,” but it is commonly taken as a verbal noun, the compound being explained as “a machine for sewing.”
Compare -ing2.

Middle English; Old English -ing, -ung

Dictionary.com Unabridged


a suffix forming the present participle of verbs (walking; thinking ), such participles being often used as participial adjectives: warring factions.
Compare -ing1.

Middle English -ing, -inge; the variant -in (usually represented in spelling as -inʾ) continues Middle English -inde, -ende, Old English -ende

The common suffix -ing 2 can be pronounced in modern English as either [‐ing] or [‐in] with either the velar nasal consonant [ng] symbolized in IPA as [ŋ], or the alveolar nasal consonant [n] symbolized in IPA as [n]. The [‐in] pronunciation therefore reflects the use of one nasal as against another and not, as is popularly supposed, “dropping the g, ” since no actual g -sound is involved.
Many speakers use both pronunciations, depending on the speed of utterance and the relative formality of the occasion, with [‐ing] considered the more formal variant. For some educated speakers, especially in the southern United States and Britain, [‐in] is in fact the more common pronunciation, while for other educated speakers, [‐ing] is common in virtually all circumstances. In response to correction from perceived authorities, many American speakers who would ordinarily use [‐in] at least some of the time make a conscious effort to say [‐ing] even in informal circumstances.


a native English suffix meaning “one belonging to,” “of the kind of,” “one descended from,” and sometimes having a diminutive force, formerly used in the formation of nouns: farthing; shilling; bunting; gelding; whiting.
Compare -ling1.

Middle English, Old English -ing, cognate with Old Norse -ingr, -ungr, Gothic -ings

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To ing
World English Dictionary
suffix forming nouns
1.  (from verbs) the action of, process of, result of, or something connected with the verb: coming; meeting; a wedding; winnings
2.  (from other nouns) something used in, consisting of, involving, etc: tubing; soldiering
3.  (from other parts of speech): an outing
[Old English -ing, -ung]

1.  forming the present participle of verbs: walking; believing
2.  forming participial adjectives: a growing boy; a sinking ship
3.  forming adjectives not derived from verbs: swashbuckling
[Middle English -ing, -inde, from Old English -ende]

suffix forming nouns
a person or thing having a certain quality or being of a certain kind: sweeting; whiting
[Old English -ing; related to Old Norse -ingr]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

suffix attached to verbs to mean their action, result, product, material, etc., from O.E. -ing, -ung, from P.Gmc. *unga (cf. O.N. -ing, Du. -ing, Ger. -ung). Originally used to form nouns from verbs and to denote completed or habitual action. Its use has been greatly expanded in M.E. and Mod.Eng. The
other use of -ing is to form the prp. of verbs, and in this sense it developed from O.E. -ende (cf. Ger. -end, Goth. -and, Skt. -ant, Gk. -on, L. -ans). It evolved into -ing in 13c.-14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences for ing
Another popular savings method that ing direct offers is a certificate of deposit, or cd.
Ing offers twenty mutual funds, each of which has a particular investment strategy.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature