Definitions

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

Etymologies

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)

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