Definitions

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

  • n. Greek Mythology A member of a race of dwarfs.
  • n. A member of any of various peoples, especially of equatorial Africa and parts of southeast Asia, having an average height less than 5 feet (152 centimeters). Not in scientific use.
  • n. An individual of unusually small size.
  • n. An individual considered to be of little or no importance.
  • adj. Of or relating to the Pygmies. Not in scientific use.
  • adj. Unusually or atypically small.
  • adj. Unimportant; trivial.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a pygmy; resembling a pygmy or dwarf; dwarfish; very small.
  • n. One of a fabulous race of dwarfs who waged war with the cranes, and were destroyed.
  • n. Hence, a short, insignificant person; a dwarf.
  • n. One of a race of Central African Negritos found chiefly in the great forests of the equatorial belt. They are the shortest of known races, the adults ranging from less than four to about five feet in stature. They are timid and shy, dwelling in the recesses of the forests, though often on good terms with neighboring Negroes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. [capitalized] One of a fabulous race of dwarfs, mentioned by various ancient authors.
  • n. Hence A little or dwarfish person; a dwarf; also, anything very small of its kind.
  • n. The chimpanzee: perhaps as the supposed original of the fabled Pygmies.
  • Belonging to or resembling a pygmy; pygmean; dwarfish: very small of its kind; little.
  • In zoology, very small of its kind; dwarfish or dwarf: applied to many animals.
  • To make like a pygmy; dwarf.

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

  • n. an unusually small individual
  • n. any member of various peoples having an average height of less than five feet

Etymologies

Middle English pigmie, from Latin Pygmaeī, the Pygmies, from Greek Pugmaioi, from pugmē, cubit, fist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Pygmy is the novelization of the joy resulting from the unwitting wordplay of non-native tongues.

    Terrorist sympathy

  • Some books are about language; Chuck Palahniuk's recent Pygmy is about second language (or third or fourth or ...).

    Terrorist sympathy

  • But Pygmy is Chuck back in true form, although the ending was a bit of a let down .... for a Chuck book.

    Terrorist sympathy

  • There are at least three distinct subspecies: B. m. musculus of the north Atlantic and north Pacific, B. m. intermedia, of the Southern Ocean and B. m. brevicauda (also known as the Pygmy Blue Whale) found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean.

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  • Down Home Southernaires were at one point known as Pygmy, and as Pygmy, they were great.

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  • It has a reputation for being difficult, thanks to the stilted English of its foreign narrator referred to as "Pygmy," an "exchange student" from somewhere in some Middle American town who's actually a terrorist with a culture-obliterating objective.

    Terrorist sympathy

  • You were right, however, to mention how difficult the language is - but give 'Pygmy' a chance! reading the desxcriptions of american life through the eyes of this little terrorist was the best!

    Terrorist sympathy

  • On the contrary, even the deprecating categorization "Pygmy" has deep organic roots buried under layers of dispossession and power disequilibrium. 17 Despite colonial "inventions," identities that surfaced during periods of contested interaction were, in fact, based on preexisting communities — not fabricated from whole cloth. 18 This observation is as true for African societies as it was for settlers and slaves at the Cape.

    Belongings: Property, Family, and Identity in Colonial South Africa

  • Nelson Mandela, like many South Africans, has features that, hair aside, wouldn’t cause a second glance among many East Asian populations; there are the peoples of the so-called Pygmy nationalities of the central continental rain forest, mostly under 4’11; there are tall and slender Masai and Ethiopians whose bodies seem designed either for ballet or marathons; and there are the frequently voluptuous peoples of Ghana.

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  • Palahniuk's stock in trade is irreverence and "Pygmy" has it in spades.

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