Definitions

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

  • n. Archaic A very small delicate creature.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A young person, especially a young woman.
  • n. A small or insignificant person, thing or amount.
  • adj. Diminutive or miniature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A little darling; a favorite; a minion.
  • n. A little pin.
  • adj. Small; diminutive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fine mincing lass.
  • n. A pin of the smallest sort. Also called minifer-pin. Halliwell.
  • n. The second size of splints used in making matches.
  • n. A small sort of gut-string formerly used in the lute and viol, and various other stringed instruments: it was properly the treble string of a lute or fiddle.
  • Small; fine; delicate; dainty.

Etymologies

Obsolete Dutch minneken, darling, from Middle Dutch, diminutive of minne, love; see men-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • They are mounted each year with grand ingenuity and minikin budgets.

    Francesca da Rimini, Fantastic Mr Fox; BBC Proms 24 & 25

  • It is a very small bag, containing a yet smaller rolled-up housewife furnished with minikin needles and fine thread.

    Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters A Family Record

  • Corking, minikin, and all description of pins, were obliged to be made in the regular way; and cows even departed this world without the honour of the human immolations formerly considered the necessary sacrifice for the loss of their inestimable lives.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 1, November 20, 1841

  • The only room I could obtain, which contained a small bed, a minikin table, and two common chairs, cost me fifty francs a month, (about two pounds sterling), and I was considered fortunate in having such good lodgings.

    A Sailor of King George

  • The Jesuits have the Cure there, with a fine habitation and a mill; in digging the foundation of which last, a quarry of orbicular flat stones was found, about two inches in diameter, of the shape of a buffoon's cap, with six sides, whose groove was set with small buttons of the size of the head of a minikin or small pin.

    History of Louisisana Or of the Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina: Containing

  • Judy, talking the whole time, pulled all her treasures out in a heap, took a quick glance at them and went straight for the one she liked best -- a minikin black baby 2 in a wicker cradle.

    Mrs. Miniver

  • Against such minikin blossoms a drop of dew looks the size of a gazing-crystal, and the ordinary lemon-yellow hawkbit towers above them like a sunflower.

    Try Anything Twice

  • It consists of a narrow strip of flowered silk, embroidered at the back, which measures four inches by one and a quarter, and is furnished with minikin needles and fine thread.

    Jane Austen: Her Homes and Her Friends

  • Adrian Le Roy's book, published in Paris about 1570, says the six strings were tuned as follows -- 1st (minikin), C in third space, treble staff; 2nd (small mean), G on second line; 3rd (great mean), D under the staff; 4th (counter-tenor), B flat over the bass staff; 5th

    Shakespeare and Music With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries

  • It may be said of it, as Thackery said of Gay's pastorals: "It is to poetry what charming little Dresden china figures are to sculpture, graceful, minikin, fantastic, with a certain beauty always accompanying them."

    From Chaucer to Tennyson

Comments

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  • Then give me leave to leave my Rent with thee ;
    Five kisses, one unto a place :
    For though the Lute's too high for me ;
    Yet Servants knowing Minikin nor Base,
    Are still allow'd to fiddle with the Case.

    - Richard Lovelace, 'Elinda's Glove'.

    February 7, 2009

  • "And WHO," Mr. Bede screamed, "will look after us minikins?"

    - William Steig, The Toy Brother

    September 15, 2008