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From Middle English atheling, from Old English æþeling (son of a king, man of royal blood, nobleman, chief, prince, king, Christ, God, man, hero, saint), from Proto-Germanic *aþalingaz (prince, nobleman), equivalent to athel +‎ -ing. Cognate with Old Frisian etheling, edling, Old Saxon edhiling, Old High German adaling, Medieval Latin adalingus, adelingus (from Germanic).



atheling (plural athelings)

  1. A prince, especially an Anglo-Saxon prince or royal heir.
    • 1966, Dorothy Whitelock, The Norman Conquest, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, page 60,
      [] to substitute as the Confessor′s heir, the Atheling Edward (son of Edmund Ironside), who was then an exile in Hungary. After the atheling′s return from exile, and his very suspicious death in England in 1057, the Norman duke must surely have realized that his chief opponent in England was likely to be Harold Godwineson [] .


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