One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, Northern
A small or weak animal or (occasionally) plant; the smallest and weakest animal of a litter, the runt; (in extended use) the youngest or smallest child in a family.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Randle Cotgrave (fl. 1587–?1630), lexicographer. Origin unknown; with the ending compare -ling.
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