Definitions

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

  • n. A very small person.
  • n. Informal A child.
  • n. Informal A minor official.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A child.
  • n. A person of very short stature.
  • n. One of the fictional inhabitants of Munchkin Country in the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, who are portrayed as a race of very short people in the 1939 film adaptation The Wizard of Oz.
  • n. A player who concentrates solely on increasing his character's power and capabilities.
  • n. A domestic cat breed.

Etymologies

After the Munchkins, characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined by L. Frank Baum in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Perhaps reflective of munch (“=mensch?”) +‎ -kin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The first words out of the good witches mouth after the wicked witch disappears in munchkin land in a ball of red smoke.

    Five Facts About The Wizard Of Oz | myFiveBest

  • I said I was happy to play a board game or something though so we played a game called munchkin (I think) the rules of which were a bit of mystery to me and hence I lost - though I did get to be an elf with a very long sword and have a chicken on my head (though apparently the chicken thing was a curse adn bad).

    Snell-Pym » Of Games and Geeks

  • The concept of me arriving for a conference without my happy little packages of notes and cards, without handling the arrangements for my beloved munchkin, is absurd.

    CLP... and I Had A Dream

  • The next munchkin is due in February and hopefully we’ll find out if it is another he or a she in the next fortnight (we seriously do not have the patience not to know these kind of things …) - I’m heading over to the UK and the US from October 9 with the better half and munchkin #1.

    Squash Returns for the Dead « Squash

  • The munchkin is a breed of cat known for its noticeably short legs.

    Archive 2010-01-01

  • BITCHY judge Jason Gardiner has poured scorn on Ray Quinn - calling him 'munchkin'

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  • Dunkin' Donuts is a munchkin next to McDonald's, which has more than 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. and had $24 billion in 2010 revenue.

    Dunkin' to Fuel Coffee Wars

  • I remember very clearly the first time I laid eyes on his little munchkin face.

    Leon Logothetis: Travels With Winston Churchill

  • Next time: A scary pregnant munchkin bride who yells at everyone!

    Una LaMarche: Pregnant in Heels Ep. 2: Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Sex But Weren't Afraid To Ask

  • Yet that pales compared to the multiverse of identities she assumes in her latest one-woman show: a long suffering spouse in "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," a munchkin on Swing Street in "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead," and a victim of the TSA on "You Forgot Your Gloves" a bit of topicality from 1931.

    Shaking the Room

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Comments

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  • Do I at least get a box of Munchkins™ as a consolation prize?

    August 29, 2008

  • Lampbane, you just lost the Game.

    August 29, 2008

  • Munchkin is also a term for a role-playing gamer who is more interested in exploiting the rules, making their character as powerful as possible, and "winning the game" than they are in actually playing a role.

    There is no winning in role-playing games. There is merely dead or not dead.

    August 29, 2008

  • Er.. *shifty eyes* I may not have actually been in Italy. There's a Carnevale festival here every year, but this is South Australia, so perhaps it's not the most authentic Italian cuisine... But the bloke selling them was a first generation Italian immigrant. I knew his wife, so he used to sometimes just give me random food. It was quite good.

    They weren't quite like that Pro, they were just long sticks. I am beginning to get the suspicion that Dom just made them up.

    August 27, 2008

  • Plethora, which part of Italy did you visit for Carnevale? Because frisjoli longhi are a typical Carnival treat in Sardinia...

    August 27, 2008

  • Well, okay, more for the rest of us then. :)

    August 27, 2008

  • Thanks, CB, but I looked at the site and saw the box with "MUNCHKINS" in big letters and it put me right off. I could never eat these. I concede defeat!

    August 27, 2008

  • They come in several varieties, crunch, and you can mix and match when you buy them by the dozen.

    August 27, 2008

  • If it's cheaper and tastes the same, then I can see how the doughnut hole would be superior.

    Do they come with cinnamon sugar?

    August 27, 2008

  • As long as it tastes good, who cares if it's a doughnut or a donut hole??

    Personally, I like these long Italian doughnut-sort-of things that I had at Carnivale a few years ago. I can't remember what they're called though. Maybe Pro can help out?

    August 27, 2008

  • The holes are cheaper.

    August 27, 2008

  • Yes, they're doughnuts... when they're not made by Dunkin' Donuts.

    August 26, 2008

  • Donuts, no thanks; doughnuts, yes, please! ;)

    My point is, why have the hole when you can have the doughnuts?

    August 26, 2008

  • What? Who doesn't like donuts?! *shakes head*

    August 25, 2008

  • We do not have Dunkin' Donuts in the UK, nor in Australia... and I daresay that if I were familiar with these things, I would be so infuriated that they were not the actual doughnuts themselves that I would probably hate the word EVEN MORE!!!!

    I am glad it has a use, though.

    August 25, 2008

  • Crunchysaviour, are you familiar with the little round "donut holes" marketed under this name by Dunkin' Donuts? They're the only reason I think this word is useful. :)

    August 24, 2008

  • I like this word because it reminds me of The Wizard of Oz.

    I think I need to create an Oz list, actually. It's pretty much consuming my brain at the moment, and will continue to do so until I've finished school.

    August 24, 2008

  • What a simpering, infuriating word. If munchkin was a stick, I would break it in half, stamp on it and set fire to it.

    August 24, 2008