[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. diminished seventh chord,
  2. diminishing returns,
  3. diminishing returns, law of,
  4. diminuendo,
  5. diminution,
  6. dimissory,
  7. dimitrios i,
  8. dimitrov,
  9. dimitrov, georgi,
  10. dimitrovo

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

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 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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper