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, -ing2, 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. -ing2.
a suffix forming the present participle of verbs (walking; thinking), such participles being often used as participial adjectives: warring factions. Cf. -ing1.
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. -ling1.