\ also ēŋ; in some dialects & in other dialects informally in, ən also ēn; after certain consonants ᵊn, ᵊm, ᵊŋ\

Definition of -ing

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : action or process running sleeping : instance of an action or process a meeting
2a : product or result of an action or process an engraving often in plural earnings
b : something used in an action or process a bed covering the lining of a coat
3 : action or process connected with (a specified thing) boating
4 : something connected with, consisting of, or used in making (a specified thing) scaffolding shirting
5 : something related to (a specified concept) offing

Definition of -ing (Entry 2 of 3)

: one of a (specified) kind sweeting

Definition of -ing (Entry 3 of 3)

used to form the present participle sailing and sometimes to form an adjective resembling a present participle but not derived from a verb swashbuckling

How do you pronounce -ing?: Usage Guide

Verb suffix or adjective suffix

Though the pronunciation of -ing with the consonant \n\, misleadingly referred to as "dropping the g," is often deprecated, this pronunciation is frequently heard. It is not known for certain why the Middle English present participle ending -ende was replaced by -ing. Analogy with the earlier noun suffix -ing probably had something to do with it. In early Modern English, present participles were regularly formed with -ing pronounced \iŋg\ (as can still be heard in a few dialects) and later \iŋ\. Evidence also shows that some speakers used \in\ and by the 18th century this pronunciation became widespread. Though teachers (with some success) campaigned against it, \in\ remained a feature of the speech of many of the best speakers in Britain and the U.S. well into the 20th century. It has by now lost its respectability, at least when attention is drawn to it, but throughout the U.S. it persists largely unnoticed, and in some dialects it predominates over \iŋ\.

History and Etymology for -ing

Noun suffix (1)

Middle English, from Old English -ung, -ing, suffix forming nouns from verbs; akin to Old High German -ung, suffix forming nouns from verbs

Noun suffix (2)

Middle English, from Old English -ing, -ung; akin to Old High German -ing one of a (specified) kind

Verb suffix or adjective suffix

Middle English, probably from -ing entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about -ing

Dictionary Entries near -ing


in future

in futuro





Statistics for -ing

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for -ing

English Language Learners Definition of -ing

used to form the present participle of a verb

Kids Definition of -ing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : action or process meeting
2 : product or result of an action or process engraving earnings
3 : something used in or connected with making or doing roofing

Kids Definition of -ing (Entry 2 of 2)

used to form the present participle sailing and sometimes to form adjectives that do not come from a verb hulking

Comments on -ing

What made you want to look up -ing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!