Etymology
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-ling 
diminutive word-forming element, early 14c., from Old English -ling a nominal suffix (not originally diminutive), from Proto-Germanic *-linga-; attested in historical Germanic languages as a simple suffix, but probably representing a fusion of two suffixes: 1. that represented by English -el (1), as in thimble, handle; and 2. -ing, suffix indicating "person or thing of a specific kind or origin;" in masculine nouns also "son of" (as in farthing, atheling, Old English horing "adulterer, fornicator"), from PIE *-(i)ko- (see -ic).

Both these suffixes had occasional diminutive force, but this was only slightly evident in Old English -ling and its equivalents in Germanic languages except Norse, where it commonly was used as a diminutive suffix, especially in words designating the young of animals (such as gæslingr "gosling"). Thus it is possible that the diminutive use that developed in Middle English is from Old Norse.
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halfling (n.)
"one not fully grown," 1794, from half + -ling.
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lordling (n.)
"puny or contemptible lord," late 13c., from lord (n.) + -ling.
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seedling (n.)
"young plant developed from seed," 1650s, from seed (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling.
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grayling (n.)
trout-like freshwater fish, early 14c., from gray (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling.
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hatchling (n.)
"newly hatched creature," 1854, from hatch (v.1) + diminutive suffix -ling.
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loneling (n.)
"single child" (as opposed to a twin, etc.), 1570s, from lone (adj.) + -ling.
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catling (n.)

"small cat, kitten," 1620s, from cat (n.) + diminutive suffix -ling.

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