- (not in technical use) an extremely small person having normal physical proportions.
- any animal or thing that is very small for its kind.
- very small or of a class below the usual size.
- being a miniature replica or model.
Origin of midget
1. See dwarf.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a dwarf whose skeleton and features are of normal proportions
- something small of its kind
- (as modifier)a midget car
- Canadian an age level of 16 to 17 in amateur sport, esp ice hockey
C19: from midge + -et
Word Origin and History for midgetism
as a type of tiny biting insect, 1839, American English, from midge, perhaps with diminutive suffix -et.
Dr. Webster is in error in saying the word "midge" is "not in use" at the present day. In the neighboring Green mountain districts, one or more most annoying species of Simulium that there abound, are daily designated in common conversation as the midges, or, as the name is often corrupted, the midgets. From Dr. Harris' treatise it appears that the same name is in popular use for the same insects in Maine. The term is limited in this country, we believe, exclusively to those minute insects, smaller than the musketoe, which suck the blood of other animals. ["Transactions of the New-York State Agricultural Society," vol. VI, Albany, 1847]
Transferred sense of "very small person" is attested by 1854. It is also noted mid-19c. as a pet form of Margaret.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A person of extremely small stature who is otherwise normally proportioned. Now considered offensive.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.