Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One often quarreled with, as in "It is better to be an old man's darling than a young man's warling."

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One often quarreled with; -- � word coined, perhaps, to rhyme with darling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A word occurring only in the proverb “Better be an old man's darling than a young man's warling,” Camden, Remains.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

war +‎ -ling

Examples

  • Therefore some fifteen hundred of his constituents have written him a letter, and have said to him, "Dat he sall, de poo itty-witty darling-warling, have his placey-wacey as longey-wongey as he wants it, and the nasty-wasty one-legged soldiers sha'n't trouble him for situations any more, so they sha'n't."

    Punchinello, Volume 1, No. 03, April 16, 1870

  • Better an auld man's darling than a young man's warling.

    The Proverbs of Scotland

  • No doubt the sweet darling warling precious wecious puppie wuppikins was "provoked" (By the existence of someone it hadn't yet mauled)

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Comments

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  • (noun) - (1) One who is despised or disliked; apparently formed arbitrarily to rhyme with darling. The resemblence to Scottish wirling "a wretch; a dwarfish or puny creature" seems to be accidental.

    --Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1928

    (2) A word of doubtful origin, occurring in the proverb, "Better to be an old man's darling than a young man's warling." Perhaps coined from war, in imitation of darling, and meaning one often quarreled with.

    --Robert Hunter's Encyclopædic Dictionary, 1894

    January 15, 2018