noun (often initial capital letter)

a small person, especially one who is dwarfish or elfin in appearance.
Informal. a child: The munchkins enjoyed holding and feeding the animals in the petting zoo.

Origin of munchkin

after the Munchkins, a dwarflike race portrayed in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and other fantasy novels Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for munchkin

Contemporary Examples of munchkin

Historical Examples of munchkin

  • Then he turned to Dorothy and added: "What will become of the Munchkin boy?"

  • Button-Bright was not quite as big as the Munchkin boy, but he wore the same kind of clothes, only they were of different colors.

  • "I think I see a boat yonder on the shore," said Ojo the Munchkin boy, pointing to a place around the edge 198 of the lake.

    Glinda of Oz

    L. Frank Baum

  • They live high up on the mountain, and the good Munchkin Country, where the fruits and flowers grow, is just the other side.

  • Because I eat up all the honey-bees which the Munchkin farmers who live around here keep to make them honey.

British Dictionary definitions for munchkin



informal, mainly US an undersized person or a child, esp an appealing one
a breed of medium-sized cat with short legs

Word Origin for munchkin

C20: from the Munchkins, a dwarfish race of people in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
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 munchkin



1900, coined by U.S. author L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." He never explained how he got the word. The word most like it is perhaps mutchkin, an old Scottish measure of capacity for liquids, which was used by Scott. (It comes from Middle Dutch mutseken, originally "a little cap," from mutse "cap," earlier almutse "amice, hood, headdress," from Latin amictus "mantle, cloak," noun use of past participle of amicire "to wrap, throw around," a compound from ambi- (see ambi-) + iacere (see jet (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper