Now A Sci-Fi Staple, The Term “Earthling” Originally Referred To?
Read the word “Earthling” and you most likely think of Sci-Fi movies and alien beings talking about their domination of the Earthlings or similar matters. Long before the term was bandied about in B-movies, however, it was an Old English word.
In Old English the term eyrþling meant one of the Earth literally, but ploughman or farmer in daily use. The term wasn’t used in the sense that Earthlings were inhabitants of the Earth until the late 16th century. It was several centuries after that until one of the founding fathers of modern Sci-Fi, Robert A. Heinlein, put the term on the Sci-Fi map in his 1949 novel Red Planet.