Definitions

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

  • n. Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a young Black child.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a black child

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small child; especially, a negro or mulatto infant. Now (2001) used primarily in the latter sense, and in that sense often considered derogatory.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See piccaninny.

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

  • n. (ethnic slur) offensive term for a Black child

Etymologies

Possibly from Spanish pequeño, small + niño, child, or from Portuguese pequenino, diminutive of pequeno, small.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish pequeño ("little, small"), or Portuguese pequeno ("little, small") or pequenino ("small one, young one")[2] (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Don't forget about Evan Mecham, Arizona's former governor who made the "pickaninny" statement and the cancellation of the state's Martin Luther King, Jr.Day. so what?

    Palin on 2012: 'If it's right, then we will pursue that'

  • In 1932 Langston Hughes criticized Little Black Sambo as a typical "pickaninny" storybook which was hurtful to black children, and gradually the book disappeared from lists of recommended stories for children.

    Hancock (2008)

  • In connection with the thread earlier on the new Mexican stamps depicting a "pickaninny" cartoon character, I noticed three related items in Mexconnect today.

    Three Mexconnect articles today on racism in Mexico

  • "Has you all seen anything of a low down black pickaninny which is los '?"

    What Two Children Did

  • Further thoughts on PC language -- I can have my character substitute "pickaninny" for "nigger" in that first exchange, dragging in the added baggage of dismissing the object as a child -- there's a jealousy component as well.

    Ah, for a predictable life

  • He had some pickaninny heads, in poor condition, that he would let go for ten bob.

    THE TERRIBLE SOLOMONS

  • One fella Adamu he stop along outside pickaninny house.

    Chapter 22

  • "What name you fella kanaka all the same pickaninny?"

    YAH! YAH! YAH!

  • When I was a little pickaninny, I knew more about fish and the ways of fish than you know now.

    YAH! YAH! YAH!

  • Him black Mary, him pickaninny, walk about long way big bit.

    Chapter 23

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