or Pig·my

[ pig-mee ]
/ ˈpɪg mi /
Save This Word!

noun, plural Pyg·mies.


(often lowercase) of or relating to the Pygmies.
(lowercase) of very small size, capacity, power, etc.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of Pygmy

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English pigmēis, plural of pigmē, from Latin Pygmaeus, from Greek pygmaîos “dwarfish” (adjective), Pygmy (noun), equivalent to pyg(mḗ)) “distance from elbow to knuckles” + -aios adjective suffix
2. See dwarf.
pygmoid, adjectivepyg·my·ish, adjectivepyg·my·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for Pygmy (1 of 2)



/ (ˈpɪɡmɪ) /

noun plural -mies

an abnormally undersized person
something that is a very small example of its type
a person of little importance or significance
(modifier) of very small stature or size
pygmaean or pygmean (pɪɡˈmiːən), adjective
C14 pigmeis the Pygmies, from Latin Pygmaeus a Pygmy, from Greek pugmaios undersized, from pugmē fist

British Dictionary definitions for Pygmy (2 of 2)



/ (ˈpɪɡmɪ) /

noun plural -mies

a member of one of the dwarf peoples of Equatorial Africa, noted for their hunting and forest culture
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

Medical definitions for Pygmy

[ pĭgmē ]


An individual of unusually small size.
Pygmy A member of any of various peoples, especially found in equatorial Africa and parts of southeast Asia, having an average height less than 5 feet.


Unusually or atypically small.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Cultural definitions for Pygmy


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.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Learn A New Word Right Now!