change·​ling ˈchānj-liŋ How to pronounce changeling (audio)
archaic : turncoat
: a child secretly exchanged for another in infancy
archaic : imbecile
changeling adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The folktale of the changeling is here recontextualized into a modern setting. Sheena Scott, Forbes, 18 June 2021 In most stories, a changeling is a fairy child that replaces a human one, typically without the baby or the human parents knowing. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, 25 Jan. 2021 True History of the Kelly Gang focuses its culture-wide vision into an unhidden life, divided into three sections: BOY is where young Ned (Orlando Schwerdt) resembles a pale, blond changeling who could become anything. Armond White, National Review, 18 Dec. 2020 The young Joan—with her gift for painting, her passion for dancing, her bristling impatience with school rules, and her wanderlust—was more like a changeling. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 29 Nov. 2020 These men and women sat in uncomfortable, beat-up school desks determined to learn English — such a difficult language to acquire with its changeling grammar rules and high-maintenance punctuation marks. Sarah Fay, Longreads, 17 Mar. 2020 Thirteen years later, the goblin world is in crisis and needs the changeling back. oregonlive, 20 Oct. 2019 Meet Cole and Tinn, accidental twins: The goblin Kull was supposed to switch them as newborns but was interrupted, causing him to panic and leave two babies, one human and one changeling, in one crib. oregonlive, 20 Oct. 2019 The imitations were clearly imitations, less like uncanny meat changelings and more like the Dionne Warwick impersonator at your friendly neighborhood drag bar. Soleil Ho,, 11 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'changeling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of changeling was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near changeling

Cite this Entry

“Changeling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


change·​ling ˈchānj-liŋ How to pronounce changeling (audio)
: a child secretly exchanged for another in infancy

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