Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of lesser rank or authority than another; a subordinate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A subordinate, or person of lesser rank or authority.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An inferior person or agent; a subordinate; a low-ranking employee.
  • n. A mean, sorry fellow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is subordinate to another, especially in some mean or servile capacity; hence, a mean, sorry fellow.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an assistant subject to the authority or control of another

Etymologies

under +‎ -ling (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In one scene, her new underling is caught snickering at the process of choosing a belt for a dress.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • A record-label underling is charged with making sure a down-and-out rock star makes it to his comeback anniversary concert in L.A. Backstory: Russell Brand reprises the loutish rocker character he played in the 2008 comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

    JSOnline.com

  • Alfred Hyslop, as Mellinger, eye-pops and mugs for the camera, veering dangerously close to Carry On territory, while Paul Ravich, the actor playing Booth, Mellinger’s main underling, comes to resemble the spaced-out astro-hippies in John Carpenter’s Dark Star.

    Ballardian » Simon Brook's Minus One

  • The establishment of a social system in which a section of the population is defined as the underling and another as the master is itself an act of violence - an act of violence which can only acquire permanence by the continuing use of violence.

    APARTHEID AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

  • The Andy Gray video that came out yesterday is clearcut bullying and harassment of an underling, which is a sackable offence.

    The Guardian World News

  • Once Patty realized that Ellen had regrets, Patty knew that her underling was a loose cannon.

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  • The term "underling" is at best antiquated and at worst a cheap swipe at the intelligence of the officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces; the term "subordinate" describes their position in a lawful hierarchy without such implications.

    The two faces of Col. Russell Williams (VIDEO) - Canada - Macleans.ca

  • Ms. Stanley's complaint, echoed by several other people quoted in her article, is that for a mere "underling" to write a tell-all memoir is unacceptably uppity.

    Toby On Top

  • 37D: Looie's underling (sarge) - "underling" is one of the ugliest words in the English language.

    Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle

  • TOKYO—Japan announced a 15.2 billion yen $185.7 million plan Friday to cut its reliance on imports of key Chinese rare earth metals by roughly a third, underling the government's efforts to protect its manufacturers from potential supply restrictions by Beijing.

    Japan Offers Rare-Earth Subsidies

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