Etymology
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underling (n.)

late Old English, "one who owes allegiance to a sovereign or ruler," from under + diminutive suffix -ling. Middle English had also overling "a superior, one who is superior in a hierarchy" (mid-14c.).

updated on March 30, 2022

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Definitions of underling from WordNet

underling (n.)
an assistant subject to the authority or control of another;
Synonyms: subordinate / subsidiary / foot soldier
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.