Origin of dwarf

before 900; Middle English dwerf, Old English dweorh; replacing Middle English dwerg, Old English dweorg; cognate with Old High German twerg, Old Norse dvergr

Related forms

dwarf·like, adjectivedwarf·ness, nounun·dwarfed, adjective

Synonym study

1. Dwarf, midget, pygmy are terms for a very small person. A dwarf is someone checked in growth or stunted, or in some way not normally formed. A midget (not in technical use) is someone perfect in form and normal in function, but diminutive. A Pygmy is properly a member of one of certain small-sized peoples of Africa and Asia, but the word is often used imprecisely to mean dwarf or midget. Dwarf is a term often used to describe very small plants. Pygmy is used to describe very small animals.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dwarf

British Dictionary definitions for dwarf

dwarf

/ (dwɔːf) /

noun plural dwarfs or dwarves (dwɔːvz)

an abnormally undersized person, esp one with a large head and short arms and legsCompare midget
  1. an animal or plant much below the average height for the species
  2. (as modifier)a dwarf tree
(in folklore) a small ugly manlike creature, often possessing magical powers
astronomy short for dwarf star

verb

to become or cause to become comparatively small in size, importance, etc
(tr) to stunt the growth of

Derived Forms

dwarfish, adjectivedwarfishly, adverbdwarfishness, noun

Word Origin for dwarf

Old English dweorg; related to Old Norse dvergr, Old High German twerc
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

Medicine definitions for dwarf

dwarf

[ dwôrf ]

n. pl. dwarfs

An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features not properly proportioned or formed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for dwarf

dwarf

[ dwôrf ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.