This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Nuts and Bolts: puffling.

Well, here it is: the fluffiest, most utterly adorable word in the English language.


A what, do you ask?


is a puffling.

It will probably look more familiar once it's grown up:

Adult in breeding plumage

Yes, that's right. A puffling is a young puffin.

There are quite a few words in English ending in -ling that mean little or young. A darling is a little dear, and we have duckling, nestling and gosling.

Just a bit different are the -ling words that are to do with weakness, such as weakling and underling.

Foundling and changeling contain the same sort of idea.

We also have a few -ling words that are based on words that end in le, such as trifling (from trifle) rambling (ramble) and rifling (rifle). 

Not fitting any trend that I can see are quisling, meaning traitor, named after the Norwegian World War II leader; and inkling, which is from the Old English inclen which means to hint at.

Last of all we have the mysterious dumpling, which people think  was probably some sort of small lump. Though where the d comes from is anyone's guess.

Actually, we could make a rather nice new -ling word out of that. One for someone who hasn't a clue what's going on (which, lets face it, is all of us most of the time).

Yes. I'm happy to be thought of as a guessling.

Are you?

Word To Use Today: one ending -ling. The -ling ending which means small or weak probably came to English from the Icelandic -lingr.


  1. What about a thinkling? :)

    Oh, and why isn' it a puffinling?
    See what happens when you try any kind of brain-work at nearly 2 am!
    Off to the downy goes I!

    1. Thinkling is lovely for a thoughtful child, Jingles. As for puffling, it seems to be a new word, so I can only guess that it's formed the way it is just to be enchanting.

  2. How about 'blogling', which is 'one who writes a bloglet'.

    1. A that a blog that only has one two-year-old post saying 'I am going to use this blog to share my philosophical thoughts with the world?'