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Equivalent to lief +‎ -ling (compare darling = dear + -ling), perhaps from or modelled after Afrikaans liefling (darling), German Liebling (darling). Compare also loveling.


liefling (plural lieflings)

  1. (South Africa) One held as lief or dear; a darling.
    • 1998, Leon Schuster, Leon Schuster's Lekker, Thick South African Joke Book - Page 271:
      'Really, liefling?' she says. Tell me what happened.'
    • 2001, Charl Fregona, The waiting place:
      "Listen, liefling, this has got nothing to do with them," he said. I shook my head. " It's not that, Riaan... it's Peter.
    • 2006, Michelle Bowers, Outstanding Justice:
      There was another word she called him sometimes; it had a funny sound to it, liefling. In truth she knew well that it meant 'darling'. She casually told him it meant 'dreamer'. He would remember those magical, special words, always.
    • 2007, Anne Landsman, The Rowing Lesson:
      Ma gives a long-suffering sigh. It's all my fault. You're paranoid, Stella. No—YOU'RE paranoid! Stop! Simon's cracking, broken voice rises up above the fray. Johannes is whispering into Marietjie's ear, My liefling.
    • 2012, Kenn Joubert, The Early Years:
      She simply dropped her face onto his chest and hugged him tight. Is this feeling running through my body, the feeling of . . . true love? “Kom, my liefling, we should hike first up the mountain—where we can talk.”