Definitions

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

  • n. A child secretly exchanged for another.
  • n. Archaic A changeable, fickle person.
  • n. Archaic A person of deficient intelligence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In British, Irish and Scandinavian mythology, an infant of a fairy, sprite or troll that the creature has secretly exchanged for a human infant.
  • n. An infant secretly exchanged with another infant.
  • n. An organism which can change shape to mimic others.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, is left or taken in the place of another, as a child exchanged by fairies.
  • n. A simpleton; an idiot.
  • n. One apt to change; a waverer.
  • adj. Taken or left in place of another; changed.
  • adj. Given to change; inconstant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A child left or taken in the place of another; especially, in popular superstition, a strange, stupid, ugly child left by the fairies in place of a beautiful or charming child that they have stolen away.
  • n. Figuratively, anything changed for or put in the place of another, or the act of so changing.
  • n. One apt to change; a waverer.
  • Exchanged: specifically applied to a child fancied to have been exchanged for another by the fairies.
  • Given to change; inconstant; fickle: as, “studiously changeling,”

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

  • n. a child secretly exchanged for another in infancy
  • n. a person of subnormal intelligence

Etymologies

change +‎ -ling (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • How about Lucas and Sascha's little one in changeling form?

    Saturday Morning Smile

  • "He didn't hurt the-" the word changeling was in her mind but would not come out of her mouth, and Elizabeth finished "'the little boy."

    Ill Met By Moonlight

  • No matter how old or young, the object is to deceive the parents into thinking that this changeling is actually their child.

    Excerpt: The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

  • He leaned against the elvensteed, cold, empty, and exhausted, trying to dismiss his sense of loss and unable to decide whether the loss of Mwynwen or that of the changeling was the most painful.

    This Scepter'd Isle

  • The changeling was the only one on this station who would deliberately change history in order to make life more miserable than it already was for Quark.

    MILLENNIUM

  • Not us, Quark said in a tone suggesting the changeling was a Pakled.

    MILLENNIUM

  • A changeling was a fairy child that was left in place ofa human baby.

    The Changeling

  • It is in the same way that in ignorant ages the notion of changeling has been produced.

    Lives of the Necromancers

  • August 2, 2007 6:47 PM i think the changeling is one of the best most supernatural story i have seen , ive never come across a movie like this before i have seen lady in white and exorcist but the changeling is a movie 2 take seriously which could even be based on true event , and the fact that this film has no atmosphere just makes it more creepy to watch . i believe not to make a remake this will spoil this film and no doubt the new version will have cgi where the origional had none.

    Filmstalker: The Changeling remake moves forward

  • THE GOLDWATER GIRL AND OTHER CHANGELINGS yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'THE GOLDWATER GIRL AND OTHER CHANGELINGS'; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = 'Article: The winner will face another race against another "changeling" whose ambition has wreaked horrendous changes in him.

    THE GOLDWATER GIRL AND OTHER CHANGELINGS

Comments

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  • Once he dreamt that it had come true and woke up in a cold panic, for in his dream she had been a silly, flaxen Clara, with the gold gone out of her hair and platitudes falling insipidly from her changeling tongue. - This side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Hmmm...
    Was she dumb, causing her words to be dull?
    Was she acting like a silly child?
    Or was she switched a birth?

    March 2, 2009

  • In stamp collecting, a stamp whose color has been changed--intentionally or unintentionally--by contact with a chemical or exposure to light.

    August 25, 2008

  • WeirdNet doesn't believe in fairies... and the whole 'change' aspect gets a mention only in the third definition.

    March 10, 2008

  • "Against the dark wall a figure appears slowly, a fairy boy of eleven, a changeling, kidnapped, dressed in an Eton suit with glass shoes and a little bronze helmet, holding a book in his hand." Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 1, 2008