fledgling vs unfledged what difference

what is difference between fledgling and unfledged


Alternative forms

  • fledgeling


From fledge (prepare for flying) +‎ -ling.


  • IPA(key): /ˈflɛd͡ʒ.lɪŋ/


fledgling (not comparable)

  1. Untried or inexperienced.
    • 2011, Jay A. Gertzman, Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940:
      His trenchant criticisms of the Church’s repression [] include a discussion of the considerable 1938 success of the fledgling NODL in getting magazines removed from various points of sale.
  2. Emergent or rising.


  • (untried): unfledged, virginal
  • (emergent): nascent, emerging



fledgling (plural fledglings)

  1. A young bird which has just developed its flight feathers (notably wings).
  2. An insect that has just fledged, i.e. undergone its final moult to become an adult or imago.
  3. (figuratively) An immature, naïve or inexperienced person.


See also

  • hatchling


  • fledgeling in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.



un- +‎ fledged


unfledged (not comparable)

  1. Not having feathers; (of a bird) not yet having developed its wings and feathers and become able to fly.
    Synonyms: featherless, callow
    Antonym: fledged
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act III, Scene 3[1]
      [] we, poor unfledged,
      Have never wing’d from view o’ the nest, nor know not
      What air’s from home.
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Chapter 21,[2]
      “The little Durands were there, I conclude,” said she, “with their mouths open to catch the music, like unfledged sparrows ready to be fed. They never miss a concert.”
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “The Bean-Field,”[3]
      The hawk is aerial brother of the wave which he sails over and surveys, those his perfect air-inflated wings answering to the elemental unfledged pinions of the sea.
    • 1869, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Part 2, Chapter 28,[4]
      “Boy and girl. Aren’t they beauties?” said the proud papa, beaming upon the little red squirmers as if they were unfledged angels.
  2. (figuratively) Not yet fully grown or developed; not yet mature.
    • c. 1610, William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Act I, Scene 2,[5]
      Temptations have since then been born to’s; for
      In those unfledged days was my wife a girl;
      Your precious self had then not cross’d the eyes
      Of my young play-fellow.
    • 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Section 5.5,[6]
      Besides, it is not possible to give a young person a just view of life; he must have struggled with his own passions before he can estimate the force of the temptation which betrayed his brother into vice. Those who are entering life, and those who are departing, see the world from such very different points of view, that they can seldom think alike, unless the unfledged reason of the former never attempted a solitary flight.
    • 1848, James Russell Lowell, “Si Descendero in Infernum, Ades” in Poems. Second Series, Cambridge: G. Nichols, p. 38,[7]
      Yet they who watch your God-compelled return
      May see your happy perihelion burn
      Where the calm sun his unfledged planets broods.
    • 1946, Olaf Stapledon, Death into Life, Chapter 4,[8]
      Fantasy, sheer fantasy? Perhaps! But when we think of time and of eternity, intelligence reels. The shrewdest questions that we can ask about them are perhaps falsely shaped, being but flutterings of the still unfledged human mentality.
  3. (figuratively) Inexperienced, like a tyro or novice.
    Antonym: experienced
    • 1898, Gertrude Atherton, The Californians, Book I, Chapter 23,[9]
      He had long since determined that Magdaléna should marry no one of the sons of his moneyed friends, nor yet any of the sprouting lawyers or unfledged business youths who made up the masculine half of the younger fashionable set.
    • 1915, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of the Island, Chapter 37,[10]
      Aunt Jamesina had a proper respect for the cloth even in the case of an unfledged parson.

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