mid-14c. (late 13c. as a surname), from Old Norse gæslingr, from gos "goose" (see goose (n.)) + diminutive suffix (see -ling). replaced Old English gesling. Or the modern word might be a Middle English formation from gos "goose." Similar formation in Danish gæsling, Swedish gäsling, German Gänslein.
updated on April 04, 2015