a young tree.
a young person.

1375–1425; late Middle English; see sap1, -ling1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sapling (ˈsæplɪŋ)
1.  a young tree
2.  literary a youth

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

1415, from sap (n.1) + dim. suffix -ling. This is probably the source of Amer.Eng. slang sap "club, short staff" (1899) and the verb sap "to hit (someone) with a sap" (1926).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Wanda then picked up a small twig, perched herself on a sapling branch, and poked her stick in a downward direction.
Sometimes the families request that a sapling be planted in the other tree's place.
Promote development beyond the sapling phase by reducing grazing and conifer re-establishment.
Control methods include cutting the tree or sapling down and treating the stump with an herbicide to prevent resprouting.
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