From over + -ling on analogy with underling, or as a revived or dialectal term from Middle English overling (“a superior”), equivalent to over + -ling.
overling (plural overlings)
- (rare) A superior.
- 1917, Rudyard Kipling, Mesopotamia (poem)
- But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died, [...]
- 1973, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
- Reflex laughs from the underlings present, though only grim smiles from the overlings.
- (UK dialectal) A ruler; master.
- Oxford English Dictionary