[ dwawrf ]
See synonyms for: dwarfdwarfeddwarfs on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural dwarves [dwawrvz], /dwɔrvz/, dwarfs.
  1. a person of abnormally small physical stature resulting from a medical or genetic condition, especially a person with achondroplasia or some other disease that produces disproportion or deformation of features and limbs.

  2. an animal or plant much smaller than the average of its kind or species.

  1. (in folklore) a being in the form of a small, often misshapen man, usually having magic powers.

  2. Astronomy. dwarf star.

  1. of unusually small stature or size; diminutive.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to appear or seem small in size, extent, character, etc., as by being much larger or better: He dwarfed all his rivals in athletic ability.

  2. to make dwarf or dwarfish; prevent the due development of.

verb (used without object)
  1. to become stunted or smaller.

Origin of dwarf

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

usage note For dwarf

1. Is it OK to say dwarf? See midget.

Other words for dwarf

Opposites for dwarf

Other words from dwarf

  • dwarf·like, adjective
  • dwarf·ness, noun
  • un·dwarfed, adjective

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

How to use dwarf in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dwarf


/ (dwɔːf) /

nounplural dwarfs or dwarves (dwɔːvz)
  1. an abnormally undersized person, esp one with a large head and short arms and legs: Compare midget

    • an animal or plant much below the average height for the species

    • (as modifier): a dwarf tree

  1. (in folklore) a small ugly manlike creature, often possessing magical powers

  2. astronomy short for dwarf star

  1. to become or cause to become comparatively small in size, importance, etc

  2. (tr) to stunt the growth of

Origin of dwarf

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

Derived forms of dwarf

  • dwarfish, adjective
  • dwarfishly, adverb
  • dwarfishness, 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

Scientific definitions for dwarf


[ dwôrf ]

  1. An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features atypically proportioned or formed.

  2. An atypically small animal or plant.

  1. A dwarf star or dwarf galaxy.

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