What does diminutive mean?

Definitions for diminutive
dɪˈmɪn yə tɪvdiminu·tive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word diminutive.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. diminutiveadjective

    a word that is formed with a suffix (such as -let or -kin) to indicate smallness

  2. bantam, diminutive, lilliputian, midget, petite, tiny, flyspeckadjective

    very small

    "diminutive in stature"; "a lilliputian chest of drawers"; "her petite figure"; "tiny feet"; "the flyspeck nation of Bahrain moved toward democracy"


  1. diminutivenoun

    A word form expressing smallness, youth, unimportance, or endearment.

    Booklet, the diminutive of book, means small book'.

  2. diminutiveadjective

    Very small.

  3. diminutiveadjective

    Serving to diminish.

  4. diminutiveadjective

    Of or pertaining to, or creating a word form expressing smallness, youth, unimportance, or endearment.

  5. Etymology: From diminutif (1398), from diminutivum, from deminuere.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Diminutiveadjective

    Small; little; narrow; contracted.

    Etymology: diminutivus, Latin.

    The poor wren,
    The most diminutive of birds, will fight,
    Her young ones in her nest, against the owl. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    It is the interest of mankind, in order to the advance of knowledge, to be sensible they have yet attained it but in poor and diminutive measure. Joseph Glanvill, Sceps. Preface.

    The light of man’s understanding is but a short, diminutive, contracted light, and looks not beyond the present. South.

    If the ladies should once take a liking to such a diminutive race of lovers, we should, in a little time, see mankind epitomized, and the whole species in miniature. Joseph Addison, Guardian.

    They know how weak and aukward many of those little diminutive discourses are. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

  2. Diminutivenoun

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    He afterwards proving a dainty and effeminate youth, was commonly called, by the diminutive of his name, Peterkin or Perkin. Francis Bacon, Henry VII.

    Sim, while but Sim, in good repute did live;
    Was then a knave, but in diminutive. Charles Cotton.

    Follow his chariot; monster-like, be shewn
    For poor’st diminutives, for doits! William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.


  1. Diminutive

    A diminutive is a root word that has been modified to convey a slighter degree of its root meaning, either to convey the smallness of the object or quality named, or to convey a sense of intimacy or endearment. A diminutive form (abbreviated DIM) is a word-formation device used to express such meanings. In many languages, such forms can be translated as "little" and diminutives can also be formed as multi-word constructions such as "Tiny Tim". Diminutives are often employed as nicknames and pet names when speaking to small children and when expressing extreme tenderness and intimacy to an adult. The opposite of the diminutive form is the augmentative. Beyond the diminutive form of a single word, a diminutive can be a multi-word name, such as "Tiny Tim" or "Little Dorrit". In many languages, formation of diminutives by adding suffixes is a productive part of the language. For example, in Spanish gordo can be a nickname for someone who is overweight, and by adding an ito suffix, it becomes gordito which is more affectionate. A double diminutive (example in Polish: dzwon → dzwonek → dzwoneczek; example in Italian: casa → casetta → casettina) is a diminutive form with two diminutive suffixes rather than one. While many languages apply a grammatical diminutive to nouns, a few – including Slovak, Dutch, Spanish, Latin, Polish, Bulgarian, Czech, Russian and Estonian – also use it for adjectives (in Polish: słodki → słodziutki → słodziuteńki) and even other parts of speech (Ukrainian спати → спатки → спатоньки — to sleep or Slovak spať → spinkať → spinuškať — to sleep, bežať → bežkať — to run). In English the alteration of meaning is often conveyed through clipping, making the words shorter and more colloquial. Diminutives formed by adding affixes in other languages are often longer and (as colloquial) not necessarily understood. Diminutives in isolating languages may grammaticalize strategies other than suffixes or prefixes. In Mandarin Chinese, for example, other than the nominal prefix 小 xiǎo and nominal suffixes 儿/兒 -r and 子 -zi, reduplication is a productive strategy, e.g., 舅 → 舅舅 and 看 → 看看. In formal Mandarin usage, the use of diminutives is relatively infrequent, as they tend to be considered to be rather colloquial than formal. Some Wu Chinese dialects use a tonal affix for nominal diminutives; that is, diminutives are formed by changing the tone of the word. In some contexts, diminutives are also employed in a pejorative sense to denote that someone or something is weak or childish. For example, one of the last Western Roman emperors was Romulus Augustus, but his name was diminuted to "Romulus Augustulus" to express his powerlessness.


  1. diminutive

    A diminutive refers to something small, tiny, or little, often used to show affection or when referring to a smaller version of something. In language, a diminutive is a word form or suffix that indicates smallness, intimacy, or endearment.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Diminutiveadjective

    below the average size; very small; little

  2. Diminutiveadjective

    expressing diminution; as, a diminutive word

  3. Diminutiveadjective

    tending to diminish

  4. Diminutivenoun

    something of very small size or value; an insignificant thing

  5. Diminutivenoun

    a derivative from a noun, denoting a small or a young object of the same kind with that denoted by the primitive; as, gosling, eaglet, lambkin

  6. Etymology: [Cf. L. deminutivus, F. diminutif.]


  1. Diminutive

    In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form, is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment. It is the opposite of an augmentative. While many languages apply the grammatical diminutive to nouns, a few also use it for adjectives and even other parts of speech. Diminutives are often used for the purpose of expressing affection. In many languages, the meaning of diminution can be translated "tiny" or "wee", and diminutives are used frequently when speaking to small children; adult people sometimes use diminutives when they express extreme tenderness and intimacy by behaving and talking like children. In some languages, diminutives are formed in a regular way by adding affixes to nouns and proper names; in English the alteration of meaning is often conveyed through clipping, either alone or combined with an affix. English diminutives tend to be shorter and more colloquial than the basic form of the word; diminutives formed by adding affixes in other languages are often longer and not necessarily colloquial.

How to pronounce diminutive?

How to say diminutive in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of diminutive in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of diminutive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of diminutive in a Sentence

  1. Unknown:

    Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.

  2. Robert Morley:

    Robert Morley sat with Wilfred Hyde White, watching the coronation parade of Queen Elizabeth. In an open carriage approached the very large Queen Salote of Tonga. Resplendent in a floral dress and ignoring the rain. "Who do you think that is beside queen Salote?" asked Wilfred, looking down at his program. Robert glanced at the diminutive Tonga ambassador in his top hat and tails and suggested, "her lunch perhaps".

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Translations for diminutive

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • تَصْغِير, ضَئِيل, تَصْغِيرِيArabic
  • умали́телен, миниатю́рен, умали́телно и́ме, мъничъкBulgarian
  • furm vihanaatBreton
  • drobný, deminutivum, zdrobnělinaCzech
  • diminutivDanish
  • Diminutivbildung, Diminutivum, Verkleinerungsform, Deminutiv, diminutiv, Deminutivum, winzig, Verkleinerungswort, verkleinerndGerman
  • μειωτικός, υποκοριστικό, υποκοριστικός, μικροσκοπικόςGreek
  • diminutivo, diminutoSpanish
  • کوچکPersian
  • pienentää, pikkiriikkinen, mitätön, pikkuruinen, deminutiivi, vähäinen, deminutiivinenFinnish
  • diminutif, minusculeFrench
  • meanbh, meanbhanScottish Gaelic
  • צורת הקטנהHebrew
  • छोटाHindi
  • նվազականArmenian
  • smækkunarendingIcelandic
  • minuscolo, diminutivoItalian
  • 指小辞Japanese
  • ಅಲ್ಪಾರ್ಥಕKannada
  • 지소사Korean
  • ([[nomen]]) [[deminutivum]], ([[nomen]]) [[diminutivum]]Latin
  • nepi, nepinepiMāori
  • klein, verkleinend, verkleinwoord, diminutiefDutch
  • diminutivNorwegian
  • zdrobnieniePolish
  • diminuidor, diminutivo, minúsculo, diminutoPortuguese
  • diminutivă, diminutive, diminutivRomanian
  • уменьши́тельное сло́во, диминути́в, кро́хотный, уменьши́тельный, уменьши́тельно-ласка́тельное сло́во, диминути́вный, уменьши́тельно-ласка́тельный, миниатю́рныйRussian
  • umanjenica, deminutivSerbo-Croatian
  • drobný, zdrobneninaSlovak
  • manjšálnica, pomanjševalnicaSlovene
  • diminutivSwedish
  • மிகக்குறுகியதாகTamil
  • కురచTelugu
  • nhỏ xíuVietnamese
  • smalamavöd, smalükamavödVolapük

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"diminutive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/diminutive>.

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    the region of the body of a vertebrate between the thorax and the pelvis
    A integrity
    B temptation
    C abdomen
    D fancy

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