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From learn +‎ -ling. Compare West Frisian learling (pupil), German Lehrling (apprentice), Norwegian lærling (trainee; apprentice).


learnling (plural learnlings)

  1. (rare, nonstandard) One who learns; pupil; student; apprentice
    • 1891, William Nicholas Hailmann, Sketches from the History of Education:
      So faulty was his knowledge that to this day impotent learnlings, who have drowned their little souls in printer's ink, find a cheap pleasure in holding up to ridicule the "ignorance," the "lack of system," the "fallacies and errors," of this man who was all heart; smiling contemptuously, too, these impotent learnlings, as if it were more honorable and more praiseworthy to be all head, no matter how diminutive and vapory.
    • 1913, The Harvard Graduates' Magazine - Volume 21:
      Perchance in upland pastures there may stray
      Some learnling of the elder fold, to teach [...]