1 [ling]
noun, plural (especially collectively) ling (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) lings.
an elongated, marine, gadid food fish, Molva molva, of Greenland and northern Europe.
the burbot.
any of various other elongated food fishes.

1250–1300; Middle English ling, lenge; cognate with Dutch leng; akin to long1, Old Norse langa Unabridged


2 [ling]
the heather, Calluna vulgaris.

1325–75; Middle English lyng < Old Norse lyng


a suffix of nouns, often pejorative, denoting one concerned with (hireling; underling ), or diminutive (princeling; duckling ).

Middle English, Old English; cognate with German -ling, Old Norse -lingr, Gothic -lings; see -le, -ing1


an adverbial suffix expressing direction, position, state, etc.: darkling; sideling.

Middle English, Old English; adv. use of gradational variant lang long1

ling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ling1 (lɪŋ)
n , pl ling, lings
1.  any of several gadoid food fishes of the northern coastal genus Molva, esp M. molva, having an elongated body with long fins
2.  another name for burbot
[C13: probably from Low German; related to long1]

ling2 (lɪŋ)
another name for heather
[C14: from Old Norse lyng]

abbreviation for

suffix forming nouns
1.  derogatory often a person or thing belonging to or associated with the group, activity, or quality specified: nestling; underling
2.  used as a diminutive: duckling
[Old English -ling, of Germanic origin; related to Icelandic -lingr, Gothic -lings]

suffix forming adverbs
in a specified condition, manner, or direction: darkling; sideling
[Old English -ling, adverbial suffix]

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

dim. suffix, early 14c., from O.E. -ling a nominal suffix (not originally dim.), from P.Gmc. *-linga-; attested in historical Gmc. languages as a simple suffix, but probably representing a fusion of the suffixes represented by Eng. -le (cf. icicle,
thimble, handle), 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, atheling, 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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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.
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