a suffix of nouns formed from verbs, expressing the action of the verb or its result, product, material, etc. ( the art of building; a new building; cotton wadding ). It is also used to form nouns from words other than verbs ( offing; shirting ). Verbal nouns ending in -ing are often used attributively ( the printing trade ) and in forming compounds ( drinking song ). In some compounds ( sewing machine ), the first element might reasonably by regarded as the participial adjective, -ing 2 , the compound thus meaning "a machine that sews," but it is commonly taken as a verbal noun, the compound being explained as "a machine for sewing." Cf. -ing 2 .
[ ME; OE -ing, -ung ]
a suffix forming the present participle of verbs ( walking; thinking ), such participles being often used as participial adjectives: warring factions. Cf. -ing 1 .
[ ME -ing, -inge ; the var. -in (usu. represented in sp. as -in' ) continues ME -inde, -ende, OE -ende ]
Pronunciation . The common suffix -ING 2 can be pronounced in modern English as either /-ing/ or /-in/ , with either the velar nasal consonant /ng/ , symbolized in IPA as [n], or the alveolar nasal consonant /n/ , symbolized in IPA as [n]. The /-in/ pronunciation therefore reflects the use of one nasal as against another and not, as is popularly supposed, "dropping the g, " since no actual g -sound is involved.
Many speakers use both pronunciations, depending on the speed of utterance and the relative formality of the occasion, with /-ing/ considered the more formal variant. For some educated speakers, especially in the southern United States and Britain, /-in/ is in fact the more common pronunciation, while for other educated speakers, /-ing/ is common in virtually all circumstances. In response to correction from perceived authorities, many American speakers who would ordinarily use /-in/ at least some of the time make a conscious effort to say /-ing/ , even in informal circumstances.
a native English suffix meaning "one belonging to," "of the kind of," "one descended from," and sometimes having a diminutive force, formerly used in the formation of nouns: farthing; shilling; bunting; gelding; whiting. Cf. -ling 1 .
[ ME, OE -ing, c. ON -ingr, -ungr, Goth -ings ]