An archaic English term of venery used to describe a group of ducks, specifically when the ducks are all standing on the ground rather than swimming or flying. This word is also spelled badling, which is how it is pronounced.

When a group of ducks are on water, they are a raft or a paddling. When they are in flight, they are a skein, a string, a team, or a flock. When they are ducks which have already been killed, and are being prepared for cooking, they are a plump of ducks, used in the same manner as "a brace of coneys." I have also seen "a brace of ducks" used to refer both to live and dead ducks, and I've seen "a plump of ducks" used to refer to live groups of ducks in any context or manner of locomotion.

I cannot find a clear etymology for badelynge, but it dates to at least 1801, when it was used in multiple waterfowl hunting manuals and Glig Gamena Angel Deod, a study of the recreational sports of the English people. The structure of the word suggests it formed in Middle English and was probably a three- or four-syllable word at the time, "BAD-el-IN-ga" approximately. As it shows no clear etymological connection to any of the French words pertaining to waterfowl, from the Norman Conquest or earlier, it probably is a completely Germanic word, and probably completely North Sea Germanic - likely Frisian at its deepest roots - rather than otherwise West Germanic.

Iron Noder 2017, 28/30

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