found·​ling | \ ˈfau̇n(d)-liŋ How to pronounce foundling (audio) \

Definition of foundling

: an infant found after its unknown parents have abandoned it

Examples of foundling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As a quick refresher: Boba Fett is a clone of Jango Fett, a Mandalorian foundling and bounty hunter who was used to make the Republic's army of clone stormtroopers on the rainy planet of Kamino. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 29 Dec. 2021 Clark, a foundling, born Kal-El, famous as Superman, has lost his memory more than once and regularly comes face to face with, and sometimes fist to fist with, perverse reflections or imitations of himself. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2021 At the start of the poem, the narrator describes the career of Scyld Scefing, a foundling who establishes a kingdom in Denmark and is given a splendid burial at sea. Irina Dumitrescu, The New York Review of Books, 17 Nov. 2020 Joseph Svec, the foundling in question, never seems to have been very curious about his biological family. Jonathan M. Pitts, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2020 His Nick, father to Gene (Colton Ryan) and Marianne (Kimber Elayne Sprawl), a black foundling, is a terrific adhesive performance for the ensemble. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2020 The boundaries between human and animal consciousness are blurred as the frail foundling matures under the couple’s care, encountering maternal bliss and heartbreak. The New Yorker, 16 Dec. 2019 Left with a foundling child during the eighteenth century. Time, 2 Feb. 2018 Sally Hawkins is Elisa, the mute janitor who, we’re told, was rescued from a river as a foundling. Michael Phillips, idahostatesman, 25 Dec. 2017

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

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First Known Use of foundling

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for foundling

Middle English fundelyng, foundlynge, from funde, founde, founden (past participle of finden "to find entry 1") + -lyng, -lynge -ling entry 1

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Time Traveler for foundling

Time Traveler

The first known use of foundling was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near foundling

founding member


foundling hospital

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Statistics for foundling

Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Foundling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for foundling



English Language Learners Definition of foundling

: a baby that is found after being left by its parents


found·​ling | \ ˈfau̇n-(d)liŋ How to pronounce foundling (audio) \

Medical Definition of foundling

: an infant found after its unknown parents have abandoned it


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