American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An Anglo-Saxon nobleman or prince, especially the heir to a throne.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Anglo-Saxon history: A crown prince or heir apparent; one of the royal family. A nobleman. Originally none but Anglo-Saxon princes were called athelings, and the atheling was the eldest son of the king or nearest heir to the throne, to which, however, he did not necessarily succeed; but the term was afterward extended to all who held noble rank. Also written etheling, œtheling.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An Anglo-Saxon prince or nobleman; esp., the heir apparent or a prince of the royal family.
- From Middle English atheling, from Old English æþeling ("son of a king, man of royal blood, nobleman, chief, prince, king, Christ, God, man, hero, saint"), from Proto-Germanic *aþalingaz (“prince, nobleman”), equivalent to athel + -ing. Cognate with Old Frisian etheling, edling, Old Saxon edhiling, Old High German adaling, Medieval Latin adalingus, adelingus (from Germanic). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English ætheling. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Then about that barrow the battle-keen rode, atheling-born, a band of twelve, lament to make, to mourn their king, chant their dirge, and their chieftain honor.”
“Nor fared he thence to the Frisian king with the booty back, and breast-adornments; but, slain in struggle, that standard-bearer fell, atheling brave.”
“Yet a single atheling up she seized fast and firm, as she fled to the moor.”
“Of Sigemund grew, when he passed from life, no little praise; for the doughty-in-combat a dragon killed that herded the hoard: 37 under hoary rock the atheling dared the deed alone fearful quest, nor was Fitela there.”
“To folk afar was my father known, noble atheling, Ecgtheow named.”
“As daylight broke, along with his earls the atheling lord, with his clansmen, came where the king abode waiting to see if the Wielder-of-All would turn this tale of trouble and woe.”
“Found within it the atheling band asleep after feasting and fearless of sorrow, of human hardship.”
“The mighty chief, atheling excellent, unblithe sat, labored in woe for the loss of his thanes, when once had been traced the trail of the fiend, spirit accurst: too cruel that sorrow, too long, too loathsome.”
“The ancient king with his atheling band sought his citadel, sorrowing much:”
“A feeless fight, 92 and a fearful sin, horror to Hrethel; yet, hard as it was, unavenged must the atheling die!”
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