changeling


changeling
/chaynj"ling/, n.
1. a child surreptitiously or unintentionally substituted for another.
2. (in folklore) an ugly, stupid, or strange child left by fairies in place of a pretty, charming child.
3. Philately. a postage stamp that, by accident or intention, has been chemically changed in color.
4. Archaic.
a. a renegade or turncoat.
b. an imbecile.
[1545-55; CHANGE + -LING1]

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      in European folklore, a deformed or imbecilic offspring of fairies or elves substituted by them surreptitiously for a human infant. According to legend, the abducted human children are given to the devil or used to strengthen fairy stock. The return of the original child may be effected by making the changeling laugh or by torturing it; this latter belief was responsible for numerous cases of actual child abuse.

      The existence of changelings is believed to stem from the idea that infants are susceptible to demonic possession. In the Medieval Chronicles, by Ralph of Coggeshall, and in other sources, the fairies are said expressly to prey upon unbaptized children.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Changeling — Change ling, a. 1. Taken or left in place of another; changed. A little changeling boy. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Given to change; inconstant. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Some are so studiously changeling. Boyle. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Changeling — Change ling, n. [Change + ling.] 1. One who, or that which, is left or taken in the place of another, as a child exchanged by fairies. [1913 Webster] Such, men do changelings call, so changed by fairies theft. Spenser. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • changeling — (n.) 1550s, one given to change, from CHANGE (Cf. change) + dim. suffix LING (Cf. ling). Meaning person or thing left in place of one secretly taken is from 1560s; specific reference to an infant or young child (usually stupid or ugly) supposedly …   Etymology dictionary

  • changeling — ► NOUN ▪ a child believed to have been secretly substituted by fairies for the parents real child …   English terms dictionary

  • changeling — [chānj′liŋ] n. 1. a child secretly put in the place of another; esp., in folk tales, one exchanged in this way by fairies 2. Archaic a changeable person; turncoat 3. Archaic a feeble minded person …   English World dictionary

  • Changeling — For other uses, see Changeling (disambiguation). Trolls with the changeling they have raised, John Bauer, 1913. A changeling is a creature found in Western European folklore and folk religion. It is typically described as being the offspring of a …   Wikipedia

  • Changeling — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Un Changeling (ou Changelin) est, dans le folklore européen, un leurre abandonné par les fées en échange de nouveau nés enlevés à leurs parents. Sommaire… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Changeling — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Der fremde Sohn Originaltitel: Changeling Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 2008 Länge: ca. 140 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Changeling — El término Changeling puede hacer referencia a: Changeling (película), una película estadounidense. Changeling: el ensueño, un juego de rol. Esta página de desambiguación cataloga artículos relacionados con el mismo título. Si llegaste aquí a… …   Wikipedia Español

  • changeling — [[t]tʃe͟ɪnʤlɪŋ[/t]] changelings N COUNT A changeling is a child who was put in the place of another child when they were both babies. In stories changelings were often taken or left by fairies. [LITERARY] I have always felt like a changeling born …   English dictionary

  • changeling — UK [ˈtʃeɪndʒlɪŋ] / US noun [countable] Word forms changeling : singular changeling plural changelings in stories, a child believed to have been left by fairies when they stole the real child from its parents …   English dictionary


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