from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A young child.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A young child; an infant: a term carrying with it a shade of contempt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Slightly contemptuous or depreciatory. A young or small child; an infant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An infant or young child.


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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain. Perhaps from band(s) (“swaddling clothes”) +‎ -ling, or a modification of German Bänkling ("bastard child"), equivalent to bench +‎ -ling.


  • The Seraph, mightily confused at being called a bantling, giggled inanely, so I replied again.

    Explorers of the Dawn

  • I, poor fool, exulting in the splendid throes of accomplishment, never dreamed that the real christening of my bantling was the toast the Master of Hell drank as the name "Amalgamated" was slowly traced upon the pad before my eyes; never dreamed that this cherished offspring on whose rearing I had lavished all I possessed of dollars, of ideals, of generous hopes and high expectations -- whose growth I had literally watered with my sweat -- was an imp of darkness.

    Frenzied Finance Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated

  • Do you, little bantling, kill everything you encounter?

    Kenny & the Dragon

  • “Little bantling,” said Grahame with a sigh as he stopped admiring himself in the mirror.

    Kenny & the Dragon

  • He looked over at Kenny, Well done, little bantling.

    Kenny & the Dragon

  • “Is this hedge-bantling to be fathered on you, Mr. Frank?”

    Westward Ho!

  • “He breathes the vital air, the Doctor might say, through lungs; he moves erect, & has warm blood; the female brings forth her young alive, and rears the bantling at her breast.”

    Thar She Blows! 19th-Century Court Case Harpoons a Whale of a Story

  • I was a young author at the time, perhaps proud of my bantling: “I beg your pardon,” I say, “it was written by your humble servant.”

    Roundabout Papers

  • If the gods, deliberating painfully together, have elaborated any skilful project, the giants are always willing to adopt it as their own, not treating the bantling as a foster child, but praising it and pushing it so that men should regard it as the undoubted offspring of their own brains.

    Framley Parsonage

  • She was one who would fain be doing something if she only knew how, and the first important attempt she made was to turn her respectable young Tory husband into a second-rate Whig bantling.

    Doctor Thorne


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • At last Mrs. Bede took up her son, kissed his little head, and held him to her bosom. "My chick," she sobbed, "my itty-bitty bantling."

    - William Steig, The Toy Brother

    September 14, 2008

  • Take care with your self-righteous canting;

    A label can be a cruel mantling.

    The fatherless sprat's

    Not urchin or brat,

    Just call the poor bastard a bantling.

    February 22, 2015

  • (noun) - A young or small child; a brat. Often used depreciatively, and formerly as a synonym of bastard. Possibly a corruption of German bänkling, bastard, from bank, bench, i.e. a child begotten on a bench, and not in the marriage bed; 1500s-1800s. --Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

    February 11, 2018