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diminutive

[dih-min-yuh-tiv]
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adjective
  1. small; little; tiny: a diminutive building for a model-train layout.
  2. Grammar. pertaining to or productive of a form denoting smallness, familiarity, affection, or triviality, as the suffix -let, in droplet from drop.
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noun
  1. a small thing or person.
  2. Grammar. a diminutive element or formation.
  3. Heraldry. a charge, as an ordinary, smaller in length or breadth than the usual.
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Origin of diminutive

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin dīminūtīvus, equivalent to Latin dīminūt(us) lessened (for dēminūtus; see diminution) + -īvus -ive
Related formsdi·min·u·tive·ly, adverbdi·min·u·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. See little.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

miniaturelittleweebantambuttonpocketmidgetsmallLilliputianminuteminipeeweeteenyteensyteensy-weensyteeny-weenyweenybitsybittyundersize

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British Dictionary definitions for diminutive

diminutive

adjective
  1. very small; tiny
  2. grammar
    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
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noun
  1. grammar a diminutive word or affix
  2. a tiny person or thing
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Compare (for senses 2, 3): augmentative
Derived Formsdiminutival (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

Word Origin and History for diminutive

late 14c. (noun and adjective), from Old French diminutif (14c.), from Latin diminutivus, earlier deminutivus, from past participle stem of deminuere (see diminish).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper