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[urth-ling] /ˈɜrθ lɪŋ/
an inhabitant of earth; mortal.
Origin of earthling
First recorded in 1585-95; earth + -ling1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for earthling
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • They took the earthling out with them, then, and tied him to a tree.

    Happy Ending Fredric Brown
  • The earthling looked off, unseeing, into a far corner of the room.

    Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • "Ggaran, you explain it to the earthling," said His Effulgence.

    Upstarts L. J. Stecher
  • Just pretend you are Ellen the earthling from that comedy of yours.

    Mother America Sam McClatchie
  • earthling, you are beginning to try my patience, Arlok snapped.

  • She was now—as she had been once before—as impotent as an earthling.

    Earth Alert! Kris Neville
  • His eyes bored into the earthling, as though daring him to refuse again.

    Skin Game Charles E. Fritch
  • The bandwidths in the Martian cameras don't necessarily match the color bandwidths on earthling computers.

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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