noun, plural Pyg·mies.
- a member of a small-statured people native to equatorial Africa.
- a Negrito of southeastern Asia, or of the Andaman or Philippine islands.
Origin of Pygmy
Synonyms for Pygmy
Examples from the Web for pygmy
Contemporary Examples of pygmy
To make matters worse, the pygmy goat did not even belong to Thompson; it had been stolen from a 4-year-old boy.Rudy Eugene, Brian De Leon, and More Crazy 'Bath Salt' Freakouts
June 8, 2012
Pygmy hippos are a distinct sub-species to their larger cousins the common hippopotamus.Prince Harry The Pygmy Hippos Dies
May 10, 2012
With only a half million natives (and another half million foreign workers) Bahrain is a pygmy in Arab politics.Bahrain Uprising: High Stakes for the U.S.
February 19, 2011
Reading Pygmy is like trying to do a crossword puzzle while riding a horse underwater.
“So corrupt, evil, vile American liberal culture, such United States pretension,” as Pygmy reports.
Historical Examples of pygmy
It was written about in the Pygmy histories, and talked about in their ancient traditions.Tanglewood Tales
They ran their eyes down the long table; every person there was a pygmy.Prince Vance
It was no pygmy undertaking upon which the Americans had embarked.The Naval History of the United States
Willis J. Abbot.
Had I brought with me or did I hear now a whispered: "Pygmy, again!"The Thing from the Lake
Eleanor M. Ingram
"This one might be a pygmy, for all we know," said the Very Young Man.The Girl in the Golden Atom
Raymond King Cummings
noun plural -mies
Word Origin for pygmy
noun plural -mies
late 14c., Pigmei, "member of a fabulous race of dwarfs," described by Homer and Herodotus and said to inhabit Egypt or Ethiopia and India, from Latin Pygmaei (singular Pygmaeus), from Greek Pygmaioi, plural of Pygmaios "a Pygmy," noun use of adjective meaning "dwarfish," literally "of the length of a pygme; a pygme tall," from pygme "cubit," literally "fist," the measure of length from the elbow to the knuckle; related to pyx "with clenched fist" and to Latin pugnus "fist" (see pugnacious).
Figurative use for "person of small importance" is from 1590s. Believed in 17c. to refer to chimpanzees or orangutans, and occasionally the word was used in this sense. The ancient word was applied by Europeans to the equatorial African race 1863, but the tribes probably were known to the ancients and likely were the original inspiration for the legend. As an adjective from 1590s. Related: Pygmean; Pygmaean.
A member of any ethnic group in which the average height of the adult male is less than four feet, eleven inches. There are Pygmy tribes in dense rain-forest areas of central Africa, southern India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The most widely studied Pygmies are the Mbuti of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, who pursue a nomadic hunting and gathering subsistence (see nomadism and hunting and gathering societies), but have established complex interdependent relationships with their non-Pygmy farming neighbors.