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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.”
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Compare -ing2.

Origin of -ing

Middle English; Old English -ing, -ung

Other definitions for -ing (2 of 3)


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

Origin of -ing

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

how to pronounce -ing

The common suffix -ing2 can be pronounced in modern English as either [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/ or [‐in], /‐ɪn/, with either the velar nasal consonant [ng], /ŋ/, symbolized in IPA as [ŋ], or the alveolar nasal consonant [n], /n/, symbolized in IPA as [n]. The [‐in] /‐ɪn/ 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] /‐ɪŋ/ considered the more formal variant. For some educated speakers, especially in the southern United States and Britain, [‐in] /‐ɪn/ is in fact the more common pronunciation, while for other educated speakers, [‐ing] /‐ɪŋ/ is common in virtually all circumstances. In response to correction from perceived authorities, many American speakers who would ordinarily use [‐in] /‐ɪn/ at least some of the time make a conscious effort to say [‐ing], /‐ɪŋ/, even in informal circumstances.

Other definitions for -ing (3 of 3)


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.

Origin of -ing

Middle English, Old English -ing, cognate with Old Norse -ingr, -ungr,Gothic -ings
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use -ing in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for -ing (1 of 3)


suffix forming nouns
(from verbs) the action of, process of, result of, or something connected with the verbcoming; meeting; a wedding; winnings
(from other nouns) something used in, consisting of, involving, etctubing; soldiering
(from other parts of speech)an outing

Word Origin for -ing

Old English -ing, -ung

British Dictionary definitions for -ing (2 of 3)


forming the present participle of verbswalking; believing
forming participial adjectivesa growing boy; a sinking ship
forming adjectives not derived from verbsswashbuckling

Word Origin for -ing

Middle English -ing, -inde, from Old English -ende

British Dictionary definitions for -ing (3 of 3)


suffix forming nouns
a person or thing having a certain quality or being of a certain kindsweeting; whiting

Word Origin for -ing

Old English -ing; related to Old Norse -ingr
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