from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Extremely small in size; tiny. See Synonyms at small.
  • adj. Grammar Of or being a suffix that indicates smallness or, by semantic extension, qualities such as youth, familiarity, affection, or contempt, as -let in booklet, -kin in lambkin, or -et in nymphet.
  • n. Grammar A diminutive suffix, word, or name.
  • n. A very small person or thing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Very small.
  • adj. Serving to diminish.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to, or creating a word form expressing smallness, youth, unimportance, or endearment.
  • n. A word form expressing smallness, youth, unimportance, or endearment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Below the average size; very small; little.
  • adj. Expressing diminution.
  • adj. Tending to diminish.
  • n. Something of very small size or value; an insignificant thing.
  • n. A derivative from a noun, denoting a small or a young object of the same kind with that denoted by the primitive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Small; little; narrow; contracted: as, a race of diminutive men; a diminutive house.
  • Having the power of diminishing or lessening; tending to diminish, decrease, or abridge.
  • In grammar, expressing something small or little: as, a diminutive word; the diminutive suffixes ‘-kin.’ ‘-let,’ ‘-ling,’ etc. See II., 3.
  • n. I. Anything very small as to size, importance, value, etc.: as, a dainty diminutive
  • n. In old medicine, something that diminishes or abates.
  • n. In grammar, a word formed from another word, usually an appellative or generic term, to express a little thing of the kind: as, in Latin,lapillus, a little stone, from lapis, a stone; cellula, a little cell, from cella, a cell; in French, maisonnette, a little house, from maison, a house; in English, manikin, a little man, from man; rivulet, which a double diminutive, being from Latin rivulus, a diminutive of rivus, a river, with the English diminutive of rivus, a river, with the English diminutive termination -et.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a word that is formed with a suffix (such as -let or -kin) to indicate smallness
  • adj. very small


Middle English diminutif, from Old French, from Latin dīminūtīvus, variant of dēminūtīvus, from dēminūtus, past participle of dēminuere, to lessen; see diminish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French diminutif (1398), from Latin diminutivum, from deminuere ("diminish"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.