ling

1
[ling]
noun, plural (especially collectively) ling, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) lings.
  1. an elongated, marine, gadid food fish, Molva molva, of Greenland and northern Europe.
  2. the burbot.
  3. any of various other elongated food fishes.

Origin of ling

1
1250–1300; Middle English ling, lenge; cognate with Dutch leng; akin to long1, Old Norse langa

ling

2
[ling]
noun
  1. the heather, Calluna vulgaris.

Origin of ling

2
1325–75; Middle English lyng < Old Norse lyng

ling.

-ling

1
  1. a suffix of nouns, often pejorative, denoting one concerned with (hireling; underling), or diminutive (princeling; duckling).

Origin of -ling

1
Middle English, Old English; cognate with German -ling, Old Norse -lingr, Gothic -lings; see -le, -ing1

-ling

2
  1. an adverbial suffix expressing direction, position, state, etc.: darkling; sideling.

Origin of -ling

2
Middle English, Old English; adv. use of gradational variant lang long1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ling

ling

1
noun plural ling or lings
  1. any of several gadoid food fishes of the northern coastal genus Molva, esp M. molva, having an elongated body with long fins
  2. another name for burbot

Word Origin for ling

C13: probably from Low German; related to long 1

ling

2
noun
  1. another name for heather (def. 1)
Derived Formslingy, adjective

Word Origin for ling

C14: from Old Norse lyng

ling.

abbreviation for
  1. linguistics

-ling

1
suffix forming nouns
  1. often derogatory a person or thing belonging to or associated with the group, activity, or quality specifiednestling; underling
  2. used as a diminutiveduckling

Word Origin for -ling

Old English -ling, of Germanic origin; related to Icelandic -lingr, Gothic -lings

-ling

2
suffix forming adverbs
  1. in a specified condition, manner, or directiondarkling; sideling

Word Origin for -ling

Old English -ling, adverbial suffix
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 ling
n.

long, slender fish, c.1300, common Germanic, cf. Dutch leng, German Leng, Old Norse langa, probably ultimately related to long (adj.).

-ling

diminutive word-forming element, early 14c., from Old English -ling a nominal suffix (not originally diminutive), from Proto-Germanic *-linga-; attested in historical Germanic languages as a simple suffix, but probably representing a fusion of the suffixes represented by English -le (cf. icicle, thimble, handle), from Old English -ol, -ul, -el; and -ing, suffix indicating "person or thing of a specific kind or origin;" in masculine nouns also "son of" (cf. farthing, atheling, Old English horing "adulterer, fornicator").

Both these suffixes had occasional diminutive force, but this was only slightly evident in Old English -ling and its equivalents in Germanic languages except Norse, where it commonly was used as a diminutive suffix, especially in words designating the young of animals (e.g. gæslingr "gosling"). Thus it is possible that the diminutive use that developed in Middle English is from Old Norse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper