[ dih-min-yuh-tiv ]
/ dɪˈmɪn yə tɪv /


small; little; tiny: a diminutive building for a model-train layout.
Grammar. pertaining to or productive of a form denoting smallness, familiarity, affection, or triviality, as the suffix -let, in droplet from drop.


a small thing or person.
Grammar. a diminutive element or formation.
Heraldry. a charge, as an ordinary, smaller in length or breadth than the usual.

Origin of diminutive

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin dīminūtīvus, equivalent to Latin dīminūt(us) lessened (for dēminūtus; see diminution) + -īvus -ive

Related forms

di·min·u·tive·ly, adverbdi·min·u·tive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diminutive

British Dictionary definitions for diminutive


/ (dɪˈmɪnjʊtɪv) /


very small; tiny
  1. denoting an affix added to a word to convey the meaning small or unimportant or to express affection, as for example the suffix -ette in French
  2. denoting a word formed by the addition of a diminutive affix


grammar a diminutive word or affix
a tiny person or thing
Compare (for senses 2, 3): augmentative

Derived Forms

diminutival (dɪˌmɪnjʊˈtaɪvəl), adjectivediminutively, adverbdiminutiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012