[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for earthling

British Dictionary definitions for earthling


/ (ˈɜːθlɪŋ) /


(esp in poetry or science fiction) an inhabitant of the earth; human being

Word Origin for earthling

C16: from earth + ling 1
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

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