[ dih-min-yuh-tiv ]
See synonyms for: diminutivediminutivesdiminutiveness on Thesaurus.com

  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.

  1. a small thing or person.

  2. Grammar. a diminutive element or formation.

  1. Heraldry. a charge, as an ordinary, smaller in length or breadth than the usual.

Origin of diminutive

First recorded before 1350–1400; Middle English, from Medieval Latin dīminūtīvus, equivalent to Latin dīminūt(us) “lessened” (for dēminūtus ) + -īvus adjective suffix; see diminution,-ive

synonym study For diminutive

1. See little.

Other words from diminutive

  • di·min·u·tive·ly, adverb
  • di·min·u·tive·ness, noun

Words Nearby diminutive

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use diminutive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for diminutive


/ (dɪˈmɪnjʊtɪv) /

  1. very small; tiny

  2. grammar

    • 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

    • denoting a word formed by the addition of a diminutive affix

  1. grammar a diminutive word or affix

  2. a tiny person or thing

  • Compare (for senses 2, 3): augmentative

Derived forms of diminutive

  • diminutival (dɪˌmɪnjʊˈtaɪvəl), adjective
  • diminutively, adverb
  • diminutiveness, 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