• synonyms


  1. a young bird just fledged.
  2. an inexperienced person.
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  1. young, new, or inexperienced: a fledgling diver.
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Also especially British, fledge·ling.

Origin of fledgling

First recorded in 1820–30; fledge + -ling1


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fledgeling

Historical Examples

  • It saw the egg and probably the chick, but not the fledgeling.

    Bird Stories from Burroughs

    John Burroughs

  • One of the ducks taken in this way was a mother with a fledgeling.

    North-Pole Voyages

    Zachariah Atwell Mudge

  • The knowing bird is not caught in the snare, and I, Dilasah, am not a fledgeling.

    Barclay of the Guides

    Herbert Strang

  • "God guard you, my fledgeling," she whispered over and over.

    The Ward of King Canute

    Ottilie A. Liljencrantz

  • That and the fall of the fledgeling excited the birds more than ever.

    Secret of the Woods

    William J. Long

British Dictionary definitions for fledgeling



  1. a young bird that has just fledged
    1. a young and inexperienced or untried person, organization or system
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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 fledgeling


1830 (adj.), 1846 as a noun meaning "young bird," from fledge + diminutive suffix -ling. Of persons, from 1856.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fledgeling in Science


  1. A young bird that has just grown the feathers needed to fly and is capable of surviving outside the nest.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.