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Origin uncertain. Perhaps from band(s) (swaddling clothes) +‎ -ling, or a modification of German Bänkling (bastard child), equivalent to bench +‎ -ling.


bantling (plural bantlings)

  1. (Britain dialectal) An infant or young child.
    • 1809, Washington Irving (as Dietrich Knickerbocker), A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty[1]:
      And I even question whether any tender virgin, who was accidentally and unaccountably enriched with a bantling, would save her character at parlour fire-sides and evening tea-parties, by ascribing the phenomenon to a swan, a shower of gold, or a river god.
    • 1841, James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer[2]:
      "You!--half-grown, venison-hunting bantling!..."