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[urth-ling] /ˈɜrθ lɪŋ/
an inhabitant of earth; mortal.
Origin of earthling
1585-95; earth + -ling1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for earthling
Historical Examples
  • "Of course," the earthling agreed weakly, licking cottony lips.

    Skin Game Charles E. Fritch
  • The earthling looked off, unseeing, into a far corner of the room.

    Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Forential had shown him pictures of female Lyrians; and this girl—but for the fact she was an earthling—would have been beautiful.

    Earth Alert! Kris Neville
  • "Ggaran, you explain it to the earthling," said His Effulgence.

    Upstarts L. J. Stecher
  • The bandwidths in the Martian cameras don't necessarily match the color bandwidths on earthling computers.

  • Just pretend you are Ellen the earthling from that comedy of yours.

    Mother America Sam McClatchie
  • When, with several of them, he returned to the village, the earthling was gone.

    Happy Ending Fredric Brown
  • The others tied the earthling up and threw him into one of the huts.

    Happy Ending Fredric Brown
  • In such cases, Investigations had stepped in and the Martian or earthling troublemaker had been sent to the rare-earth mines.

    Blind Spot Bascom Jones
  • They took the earthling out with them, then, and tied him to a tree.

    Happy Ending Fredric Brown
British Dictionary definitions for earthling


(esp in poetry or science fiction) an inhabitant of the earth; human being
Word Origin
C16: from earth + ling1
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 earthling

Old English yrþling "plowman" (see earth + -ling); the sense of "inhabitant of the earth" is from 1590s. Earthman was originally (1860) "a demon who lives in the earth;" science fiction sense of "inhabitant of the planet Earth" first attested 1949 in writing of Robert Heinlein. Earlier in this sense was earthite (1825).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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