Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

picaninny

[pik-uh-nin-ee]
See more synonyms for picaninny on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural pic·a·nin·nies.
  1. pickaninny.
Show More

pickaninny

or pic·a·nin·ny, pic·ca·nin·ny

[pik-uh-nin-ee]
noun, plural pick·a·nin·nies. Older Use: Now Offensive.
  1. a term used to refer to a black child.
Show More

Origin of pickaninny

1645–55; probably ultimately < Portuguese pequenino, diminutive of pequeno small; as a word for “small child,” pickaninny and its variants are widespread in English-based creoles of the New World and West Africa; compare Jamaican English pickney, West African English pickin small child

Usage note

This is a dated term, originally used in a neutral or even affectionate way among slaves in the West Indies, but now perceived as insulting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for picaninny

Historical Examples

  • Picaninny Gully ended in a flat, thinly timbered, where there were only a few diggers.

    The Book of the Bush

    George Dunderdale


British Dictionary definitions for picaninny

pickaninny

noun plural -nies
  1. a variant spelling (esp US) of piccaninny
Show More
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