- IPA: /ˈt͡ʃeɪnd͡ʒlɪŋ/
changeling (plural changelings)
- (mythology) In pre-modern European mythology, an infant that was secretly exchanged for a mother's own baby by an evil creature. (In British, Irish and Scandinavian mythology the exchanged infants were thought to be those of fairies, sprites or trolls; in other places, they were ascribed to witches, devils, or demons.)
- (informal, rare) An infant secretly exchanged with another infant by mistake or by human doing; swapling.
- (science fiction and fantasy) An organism which can change shape to mimic others.
- (obsolete) A simpleton; an idiot.
- (obsolete) One apt to change; a waverer.
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
- To face the garment of rebellion / With some fine color that may please the eye / Of fickle changelings and poor discontents, / Which gape and rub the elbow at the news / Of hurly-burly innovation....
- (fairy's child) auf (obsolete), oaf (obsolete)
- (being that can change shape) shape-shifter
- (a child exchanged for another) swapling
- French: changelin, changeling
- German: Wechselbalg, Wechselkind, Kielkropf, Dickkopf
- Russian: подме́ныш
- Spanish: niño cambiado