pickaninny

or pic·a·nin·ny, pic·ca·nin·ny

[ pik-uh-nin-ee ]
/ ˈpɪk əˌnɪn i /

noun, plural pick·a·nin·nies.Older Use: Now Offensive.

a term used to refer to a Black child.

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Origin of pickaninny

First recorded in 1645–55; probably ultimately from 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 for pickaninny

Pickaninny is a dated term, originally used in a neutral or even affectionate way in the West Indies, but now perceived as insulting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for pickaninny

pickaninny
/ (ˌpɪkəˈnɪnɪ) /

noun plural -nies

a variant spelling (esp US) of piccaninny
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