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Learned borrowing from Old English cyning. Doublet of king.



cyning (plural cynings)

  1. An Anglo-Saxon (early English) king.
    • 1805, Sharon Turner, “The King’s Election and Coronation”, in The History of the Manners, Landed Property, Government, Laws, Poetry, Literature, Religion, and Language, of the Anglo-Saxons, “The Government of the Anglo-Saxons”, London: [] Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, [], page 247:
      The firſt cynings of the Anglo Saxons ſeem to have been their war-kings, continued for life, and the crown was not hereditary, but elective.
    • 1884, William Brockie, “Preface”, in The Gypsies of Yetholm: Historical, Traditional, Philological, and Humorous, Kelso: J. & J. H. Rutherfurd, [], page iii:
      To write the history of the numerous Gypsy dynasties in the British Isles, from the somewhat mythical days of Johnnie Faa to the demise of the last of his royal house who claimed and bore the royal title, would be a more difficult task than to trace and verify the genealogy of the petty cynings and bretwaldas of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy up to Hengist, Horsa, and Ida, and thence back to Thor and Odin.
    • 1912, Charles M. Doughty, The Clouds, Duckworth & Co., page 43:
      Then Saxon cynings ruled, with various fortune, / Six centuries; ( fighting ofttimes, king against king.)
    • 2010, Steve Mollmann; Michael Schuster, “The Future Begins”, in What’s Past (Star Trek: Corps of Engineers), Gallery Books, →ISBN, page 176:
      According to the public record, a dispute over some action of Iamor’s—Scotty had a good idea what action that was—had split the party asunder, meaning no one was able to achieve the majority in the Witenagemot necessary to create a functioning government. Unfortunately, one of the planet’s many provincial cynings had taken advantage of the lull in authority to revive a long-standing grudge with another cyning, weapons had been fired, and any chance of a unified Kropasar reemerging had died in the ensuing chaos.

Old English[edit]

Ælfrēdes anlīcnes þæs Mǣran, Westseaxna cyninges

Alternative forms[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *kuning, from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenh₁- (to procreate). Equivalent to cynn +‎ -ing.


  • IPA(key): /ˈky.ninɡ/, [ˈky.niŋɡ]


cyning m

  1. king

Usage notes[edit]

  • When used as a title, cyning is usually placed after the king's name, unlike in modern English. Thus "King Edward" was Ēadweard cyning, not *cyning Ēadweard.
  • Many compounds which might be expected to contain cyning instead use the prefix cyne- (royal, of a king).


Derived terms[edit]