underling(redirected from underlings)
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One of lesser rank or authority than another; a subordinate.
Word History: The suffix -ling, inherited from Common Germanic, already had several uses in Old English, all of which produced new nouns. It could, for example, be added to a noun to make a second noun that referred to something connected with or similar to the first noun; thus, adding this suffix to the Old English word yrth, "plowland," produced the Old English word yrthling, "plowman." The suffix could also be added to an adjective to make a noun that referred to something having the quality denoted by the adjective: from Old English dēore, "dear, beloved," was derived dēorling (Modern English darling). Adding -ling to an adverb produced a noun referring to something having the position or condition denoted by the adverb: from Old English under came underling. This last use of -ling is actually taken over from Old Norse. In Old Norse -ling was used to form diminutives; thus, our word gosling was a borrowing in Middle English of an Old Norse word, gæslingr, "gosling, a little goose."
(Industrial Relations & HR Terms) a subordinate or lackey
un•der•ling(ˈʌn dər lɪŋ)
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|Noun||1.||underling - an assistant subject to the authority or control of another|
assistant, helper, help, supporter - a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose; "my invaluable assistant"; "they hired additional help to finish the work"
associate - a person with subordinate membership in a society, institution, or commercial enterprise; "associates in the law firm bill at a lower rate than do partners"
bottom dog - a person of low status
cog - a subordinate who performs an important but routine function; "he was a small cog in a large machine"
man - a male subordinate; "the chief stationed two men outside the building"; "he awaited word from his man in Havana"