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under +‎ -ling


  • (file)


underling (plural underlings)

  1. A subordinate, or person of lesser rank or authority.
    • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], lines 140-141:
      The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      "I love not that underlings should perceive my wisdom."
    • December 7 2022, Simon Shuster, “2022 Person of the Year: Volodymyr Zelensky”, in Time[1]:
      His decision to stay at the compound in the face of possible assassination set an example, making it more difficult for his underlings to cut and run. “Anyone who left is a traitor,” Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, told its members a few hours after the invasion started.
  2. A low, wretched person.



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