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In a conversation today I needed a word for "Young of an animal". Not animal-specific like "puppy" or "kitten".

The conversation went like this:

Me: 2 kittens to be precise!
Person: Kittens are cute!
Me: All [hesitation due to not knowing a word] youngs of animals are cute.

I would have said litter but I am not referring to a group of youngs. Also I want that word in singular.

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    Can't your 'need' be met by what most people would say, 'All young animals are cute' / 'All animals are cute when they're young'? Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 6:52

6 Answers 6

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Youngling can mean a young animal.

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

one that is young; especially : a young person or animal

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  • Not as precise as I would like it to be but close enough Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 6:59
  • While this works and means what you want, it sounds kind of like something a character in Lord of the Rings would say. I mean, it's an unusual word and I can't imagine any native speaker saying "All animal younglings are cute". "Young animals" is the neutral, unmarked phrase you probably want for conversation.
    – trent
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 5:20
  • @SlavaKnyazev I switched that around without explanation, but "animal younglings" sounds better to me than "younglings of animals". Sorry, I don't know why.
    – trent
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 5:26
  • Sorry, didn't realize last night this question was 3 years old... ah well, I'll let it stay
    – trent
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 14:24
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Offspring and spawn are reasonable generic suggestions. The plural and singular forms of these words are identical.

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  • spawn has connotations that would make it unsuitable for use in OP's example sentence. It is frequently used in the title of horror films.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 19:30
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There is no single word for this concept that is in common use; usually, the terms people use for the types of animal with which humans have the greatest involvement are fairly species-specific, as you have already implied.

However, the simple description 'young animal(s)' covers the idea quite well for the young of any animal that isn't conventionally thought of as a bug or a creepy-crawly.

Take a look at this Ngram (which I have set to display the maximum possible smoothing of 50) to compare the prevalence of some terms (most of which will be very familiar) for young animals in books published between 1800 and 2000. (I have excluded terms like 'kit' and 'fry', which would generate too many false positives because of their overlap with senses of the word that have nothing to do with animals.)

You will notice that youngling, which is very much a dialect term, always lies at the very bottom of the frequency distribution.

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Actually Young means exactly what you need.

All young animals are cute

or

All animals have young.

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    It means exactly the right thing (and it was what sprang to mind immediately upon reading the question title) … but “All young are cute” just sounds utterly bizarre. Young, when used as a noun, apparently doesn’t fare well as an indefinite noun. Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 21:30
  • +1. The young of all animals are cute. For young to have the desired meaning it needs to be qualified.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 19:25
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As long as the animal is carnivorous, it is a cub.

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progeny

(Merriam-Webster)

the descendants of a person, animal, or plant
the rancher carefully examined the progeny of the new breed of cattle

Progeny is the lineage of human, animal and plant species; e.g., a litter of rabbits born to parent rabbits inherit characteristics from both parents, and when a kit (baby rabbit) reaches maturity, it will pass these traits to the next generation.

The term progeny can refer to a single offspring, and is often connected to selective breeding.

Selecting horses for breeding purposes is based on progeny, performance and individuality as is selection in all of our farm animals. Pedigrees are often considered, especially in selecting breeding horses, where the progeny is measured primarily by performance.
Source: Light Horse Production in Florida

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