Definitions

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

  • n. An undersized animal, especially the smallest animal of a litter.
  • n. Offensive A short person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The smallest animal of a litter.
  • n. Undersized or stunted plant, animal or person.
  • n. An Ethernet packet that does not meet the medium's minimum packet size of 64 bytes.
  • n. A single word (or portion of a hyphenated word) that appears as the last line of a paragraph.
  • n. A breed of pigeon related to the carrier pigeon.
  • n. A hardened stem or stalk of a plant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any animal which is unusually small, as compared with others of its kind; -- applied particularly to domestic animals.
  • n. A variety of domestic pigeon, related to the barb and carrier.
  • n. A dwarf; also, a mean, despicable, boorish person; -- used opprobriously.
  • n. The dead stump of a tree; also, the stem of a plant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A young ox or cow; a steer or heifer; also, a stunted ox or cow, or other under-sized animal; one below the usual size and strength of its kind; especially, the smallest or weakest one of a litter of pigs or puppies. Compare def. 4.
  • n. Hence A short, stockish person; a dwarf.
  • n. A rude, ill-bred person; a boor or hoiden.
  • n. A breed of domestic pigeons. A single bird may weigh as much as 2 1/2 pounds.
  • n. A stump of underwood; also, the dead stump of a tree.
  • n. The stalk or stem of a plant.
  • n. The rump.

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

  • n. disparaging terms for small people

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

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

  • WORD runt

    Two EXAMPLES from Charlotte's Web:

    (1) " Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

    "Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."

    "I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight.

    "Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt. It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it."

    "Do away with it?" shrieked Fern. "You mean kill it? Just because it's smaller than the others?"

    Mrs. Arable put a pitcher of cream on the table. "Don't yell, Fern!" she said. "Your father is right. The pig would probably die anyway."

    -- 1952 E.B. WHITE. Charlotte's Web. Chapter I -- Before Breakfast (page 1).

    (2) "But it's unfair," cried Fern. "The pig couldn't help being born small, could it?" If I had been very small at birth, would you you have killed me?"

    Mr. Arable smiled. "Certainly not," he said, looking down at his daughter with love. "But this is different. A little girl is one thing, a little runty pig is another."

    "I see no difference," replied Fern, still hanging on to the ax. "This is the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard of."

    A queer look came over John Arable's face. He seemed almost ready to cry himself.

    "All right," he said. "You go back to the house and I will bring the runt when I come in. I'll let you start it on a bottle, like a baby. Then you'll see what trouble a pig can be."

    -- 1952 E.B. WHITE. Charlotte's Web. Chapter I -- Before Breakfast (pages 2 - 3).

          
    VISUAL from Charlotte's Web
    (Garth Williams illustration of Fern bottlefeeding the runt Wilbur)
    <<   http://flavorwire.com/260278/garth-williams-gorgeous-original-illustrations-for-charlottes-web/11/  >>
        
    http://flavorwire.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/2107-520x697.jpg" alt="Fern bottlefeeding the runt Wilbur" >

    September 25, 2013

  • figuratively, A short-statured person.

    July 27, 2009

  • I love wordie because I see a word like this and I realise what a stunning word it is.

    May 16, 2009

  • Pigs, WeirdNet, pigs!

    May 16, 2009

  • Old nickname for wrens. See Jenny wren.

    February 13, 2008