Earthling

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See also: earthling

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From earth +‎ -ling (suffix indicating a resident);[1] earth is ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₁er- (earth). Old English ierþling (farmer, husbandman, ploughman, literally one of the earth) is formed from the same roots but generally did not outlive Old English; all modern uses are historical: see earthling.

Compare also human, which is derived from Latin humus (ground, soil).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Earthling (plural Earthlings)

  1. An inhabitant of Earth, as opposed to one of heaven. [from 16th c.]
    • 1593, Tho[mas] Nashe, Christs Teares Over Ierusalem. [], London: [] Iames Roberts, and are to be solde by Andrewe Wise, [], OCLC 846581854, folio 60, verso:
      VVe (of all earthlings) are Gods vtmoſt ſubiects, the laſt (in a manner) that he bought to his obedience: ſhal we then forgette that vvee are any ſubiects of hys, becauſe (as amongſt his Angels) he is not viſibly conuerſant amongſt vs?
  2. (chiefly science fiction) An inhabitant of Earth, as opposed to one of another planet; specifically, a sentient member of any species native to Earth. [from 20th c.]
    Synonyms: (nonstandard, humorous, science fiction) Earthican, Tellurian, Terran; see also Thesaurus:Earthling
    Antonyms: alien, extraterrestrial; see also Thesaurus:extraterrestrial
  3. (archaic) A person who is materialistic or worldly; a worldling. [from 17th c.]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ earthling, n.2”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2020; “earthling, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

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