- a plural of dwarf.
- a person of abnormally small stature owing to a pathological condition, especially one suffering from cretinism or some other disease that produces disproportion or deformation of features and limbs.
- an animal or plant much smaller than the average of its kind or species.
- (in folklore) a being in the form of a small, often misshapen and ugly, man, usually having magic powers.
- Astronomy. dwarf star.
- of unusually small stature or size; diminutive.
- to cause to appear or seem small in size, extent, character, etc., as by being much larger or better: He dwarfed all his rivals in athletic ability.
- to make dwarf or dwarfish; prevent the due development of.
- to become stunted or smaller.
Origin of dwarf
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dwarves
You almost wish Tolkien had stopped with six dwarves [laughs].
Still, we had the 13 dwarves to deal with, but at least in this movie we get to knock a couple off, which is a relief.
“The police were forced into arresting thousands of dwarves,” Flood said.Why the Left Protests Better: A History of ‘Disobedient Objects’
July 28, 2014
While the camera pans towards him in the hallway, along the wall is an image of Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.'The Shining': The Craziest Theories Behind the Film
March 28, 2013
The “seven dwarves” is a political “diss” from the 1988 Democratic primary.Israel 2013 Is Not Bibi’s Israel
January 23, 2013
And the dwarves, and fays, and fairies all alike have gone away.
Dwarves and mine-men went about, unfailingly, with a purseful of gold.
The Black Elves will serve as our general name for dwarves and mine-fairies.
Waving his long arms, he towered over the men milling around him like a giant commanding an army of dwarves.The Saracen: Land of the Infidel
- to become or cause to become comparatively small in size, importance, etc
- (tr) to stunt the growth of
Word Origin and History for dwarves
Old English dweorh, dweorg (West Saxon), duerg (Mercian), "very short human being," from Proto-Germanic *dweraz (cf. Old Frisian dwerch, Old Saxon dwerg, Old High German twerg, German Zwerg, Old Norse dvergr), perhaps from PIE *dhwergwhos "something tiny," but with no established cognates outside Germanic. The mythological sense is 1770, from German (it seems never to have developed independently in English).
Whilst in this and other ways the dwarfs do at times have dealings with mankind, yet on the whole they seem to shrink from man; they give the impression of a downtrodden afflicted race, which is on the point of abandoning its ancient home to new and more powerful invaders. There is stamped on their character something shy and something heathenish, which estranges them from intercourse with christians. They chafe at human faithlessness, which no doubt would primarily mean the apostacy from heathenism. In the poems of the Mid. Ages, Laurin is expressly set before us as a heathen. It goes sorely against the dwarfs to see churches built, bell-ringing ... disturbs their ancient privacy; they also hate the clearing of forests, agriculture, new fangled pounding-machinery for ore. ["Teutonic Mythology," Jacob Grimm, transl. Stallybrass, 1883]
The shift of the Old English guttural at the end of the word to modern -f is typical (cf. enough, draft). Old English plural dweorgas became Middle English dwarrows, later leveled down to dwarfs. The use of dwarves for the legendary race was popularized by J.R.R. Tolkien. As an adjective, from 1590s.
"to render dwarfish," 1620s, from dwarf (n.); sense of "to cause to look small" is from 1850. Related: Dwarfed; dwarfing.
- An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features not properly proportioned or formed.
- An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features atypically proportioned or formed.
- An atypically small animal or plant.
- A dwarf star or dwarf galaxy.