Older Use: Disparaging. a clergyman with a shaven or tonsured head.
a young fellow; youngster.

Origin of shaveling

First recorded in 1520–30; shave + -ling1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shaveling

Historical Examples of shaveling

  • What if Count Hannibal were behind, were even now mounting the stairs, prepared to force her to a marriage before this shaveling?

    Count Hannibal

    Stanley J. Weyman

  • You are a man of sinew yourself, monk, and methinks that you would have made a better soldier than a shaveling.

  • This shaven crown will speedily thatch itself again, a beard grow upon these shaveling cheeks.

    Joan of the Sword Hand

    S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett

  • The warrior uttered a grunt of pain, cast a surprised angry stare at the shaveling of a Paddy, and thrust with his lance.


    John William De Forest

  • The Baron was fairly satisfied, and muttered that if the bairn was fit only for a shaveling, it might be all right.

    Grisly Grisell

    Charlotte M. Yonge

British Dictionary definitions for shaveling


noun archaic

derogatory a priest or clergyman with a shaven head
a young fellow; youth
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 shaveling

contemptuous term for a friar, literally "shaven person," 1520s, from shave + -ling. "Very common in 16th and 17th c." [OED]. Also as an adjective (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper