Meaning of -ING in English

I. iŋ also ēŋ; in some dialects & in other dialects informally in, ən also ēn; after certain consonants ə n, ə m, ə ŋ noun suffix

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English -ung, -ing, suffix forming nouns from verbs; akin to Old High German -ung, suffix forming nouns from verbs

1. : action or process

runn ing

sleep ing

: instance of an action or process

a meet ing


a. : product or result of an action or process

an engrav ing

— often in plural

earn ings

b. : something used in an action or process

a bed cover ing

the lin ing of a coat

3. : action or process connected with (a specified thing)

boat ing

4. : something connected with, consisting of, or used in making (a specified thing)

scaffold ing

shirt ing

5. : something related to (a specified concept)

off ing

II. noun suffix

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English -ing, -ung; akin to Old High German -ing one of a (specified) kind

: one of a (specified) kind

sweet ing

III. verb suffix or adjective suffix

Etymology: Middle English, probably from -ing (I)

— used to form the present participle

sail ing

and sometimes to form an adjective resembling a present participle but not derived from a verb

swashbuckl ing


Though the pronunciation of -ing with the consonant n, misleadingly referred to as “dropping the g, ” is often deprecated, this pronunciation is frequently heard. It is not known for certain why the Middle English present participle ending -ende was replaced by -ing. Analogy with the earlier noun suffix -ing probably had something to do with it. In early Modern English, present participles were regularly formed with -ing pronounced iŋg (as can still be heard in a few dialects) and later iŋ. Evidence also shows that some speakers used in and by the 18th century this pronunciation became widespread. Though teachers (with some success) campaigned against it, in remained a feature of the speech of many of the best speakers in Britain and the United States well into the 20th century. It has by now lost its respectability, at least when attention is drawn to it, but throughout the United States it persists largely unnoticed and in some dialects it predominates over iŋ.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.