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See also: Stripling



From Middle English stripling (an adolescent, a youth (specifically one who is male); a child) [and other forms],[1] possibly from strepen (to remove the clothes of, undress, strip; to peel off; to skin (an animal); to remove; to take something away from someone; to plunder, rob)[2] (connoting something that is stripped and thin, and yet to reach its full size)[3] + -ling (suffix forming diminutives).[4] Strepen is derived from Old English *strēpan (Anglian), *strīepan, *strīpan, *strȳpan (West Saxon), from Proto-West Germanic *straupijan, *straupjan,[5] from Proto-Germanic *straupijaną (to strip; to pluck; to wipe), from *streupaną (to touch) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *strew-, *sterw-, *ster- (a strip; a streak; a beam, ray)) + *-janą (suffix forming causatives from strong verbs with the sense of ‘to cause to do’). The English word is analysable as strip (long, narrow piece) +‎ -ling.



stripling (plural striplings)

  1. (archaic, also attributive, sometimes humorous) A youth (young man) in the state of adolescence, or just passing from boyhood to manhood; a lad. [from 14th c.].
    Synonyms: sapling, shaveling, springald (archaic, rare); see also Thesaurus:boy
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, 1 Samuel 17:56, column 1:
      And the king ſaid, Enquire thou whoſe ſonne the ſtripling is.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “[Letter the First]”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], volume I, London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], OCLC 731622352, page 92:
      Figure to yourſelf, Madam, a fair ſtripling, between eighteen and nineteen, with his head reclin'd on one of the ſides of the chair, his hair in diſorder'd curls, irregularly ſhading a face, on which all the roſeate bloom of youth, and all the manly graces conſpired to fix my eyes and heart.
    • 1837, Venator [pseudonym; John Cooper], “Prefatory Remarks”, in The Warwickshire Hunt, from 1795 to 1836; [], London: Henry Harris, []; Warwick, Warwickshire: J. Cooper, [], OCLC 80209461, page vi:
      This is the sort of witchery, not easily defined—but, by its votaries, pretty sensibly felt, in hunting the fox. The light-hearted, high-spirited stripling, when cigaring it careless to cover, with a kind of a knowing demi-devil-may-care twist of his beaver, receives in his transit a benison from every real friend of the chase he may chance to pass; and the airy, eager zeal of the youthful aspirant to rolls, tumbles, and the brush, will flush his memory with the frolic gayety of other days, and animate his mind with reflections most welcome to his heart.
    • 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson, “[Our Lady of the Snows.] Father Apollinaris.”, in Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, 1st American edition, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, OCLC 5979975, page 91:
      For there upon the narrow new-made road, between the stripling pines, was a mediæval friar, fighting with a barrowful of turfs.
    • 1927, M[ohandas] K[aramchand] Gandhi, “Outcaste”, in Mahadev Desai, transl., The Story of My Experiments with Truth: Translated from the Original in Gujarati, volume I, Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Navajivan Press, OCLC 875661731, part I, page 104:
      A berth was reserved for me by my friends in the same cabin as that of Sjt. Tryambakrai Mazmudar, the Junagadh vakil. They also commended me to him. He was an experienced man of mature age and knew the world. I was yet a stripling of eighteen without any experience of the world. Sjt. Mazmudar told my friends not to worry about me.
  2. (horticulture) A seedling with most of the leaves stripped off.



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