Word of Week (WOW) – Diminutive

wow (1)

Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week. To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link).

I’m looking at the letter D this week.

I’m still in the middle of my Malta posts. Back to those soon . . .

So, here is my WOW for this week: 





di·min·u·tive  [dih-min-yuh-tiv]   (dɪˈmɪn yə tɪv)

Audio: diminutive

Part of Speech:


Related Forms:

Adverb: diminutively

Noun: diminutiveness


  1. adj. Extremely or extraordinarily small:

    Diminutive doorway. A tiny doorway, 18inches high, in an ancient wall on Motherby Hill. The notice on the door says:
    Diminutive doorway. A tiny doorway, 18 inches high, in an ancient wall on Motherby Hill. The notice on the door says: “DANGER steep staircase”. Source: geograph.org.uk. Author: Richard Croft.

2. n. Grammar: Of or being a suffix that indicates smallness or qualities such a youth, familiarity, affection – or even contempt. Egs: -let in booklet, -kin in lambkin, or -et in nymphet, or – ette, as in kitchenette.

An example of a Canadian cuisinette /kitchenette in a studio apartment in Quebec. Author: Shadiac. Commons
An example of a Canadian cuisinette /kitchenette in a studio apartment in Quebec. Author: Shadiac. Commons

3. A diminutive suffix, word or name, e.g. Maggie for Margaret, Tommy /Tommie for Thomas. (My son, Thomas – fifth ‘child’ now 34 – positively refuses to answer to Tommy!)

4. n. A very small person or thing (persons in this example):

Diminutive humans attack a giant cat. A ghost-like figure sits in a boat at the top left. Wellcome Trust mages. Commons
Diminutive humans attack a giant cat. A ghost-like figure sits in a boat at the top left.
Wellcome Trust mages. Commons

Word Origin:

1350-1400; Middle English diminutif, from Old French, from Latin dīminutīvus, from dīminūtus, past participle of dīminuere.


small, little, tiny, minute, pocket-sized, mini, wee, miniature, petite, midget, undersized, teeny-weeny, Lilliputian, bantam, teensy-weensy, pygmy, flyspeck


big, enormous, giant, huge, immense, important, large, tall

Use in a Sentence:

  1. We emerged from the pine forest into an open space, with a diminutive loch, little more than a pond, at the centre of it:
Diminutive Fir Loch. geograph.org.uk. Author: Des Colhoun. Commons
Diminutive Fir Loch. geograph.org.uk. Author: Des Colhoun. Commons

2. The body of the female Giant House Spider can reach 18.5 mm (0.73 in) in length, with that of the male being much more diminutive at 12.7 mm (1.5 in):

Female Giant House Spider, of the genus Tegenaria atrica, building its second egg sac. From Cologne, Germany. Author: Sarefo. Commons
Female Giant House Spider, of the genus Tegenaria atrica, building its second egg sac. From Cologne, Germany. Author: Sarefo. Commons

3. In the silent room at one minute to midnight on Christmas Eve, the diminutive green-clad elf hopped down from the Christmas tree, ready to help Santa unload his toys when he came down the chimney:

A diminutive Christmas elf on a Christmas tree decoration. Originally posted on Flickr. Author: Jolene Morris. Commons
A diminutive Christmas elf on a Christmas tree decoration. Originally posted on Flickr. Author: Jolene Morris. Commons


If you’d like to view more interesting words, visit Heena’s Page

Word Treasure

37 thoughts on “Word of Week (WOW) – Diminutive

  1. Another fan here for that cute door. Not a fan of the word diminutive for the crazy reason it makes being small sound terribly virtuous – when there’s no word for being big that sounds anywhere near as virtuous.

    1. Now, you see, I don’t particularly love the word, either, although I’ve been called diminutive on many occasions. In my case, it was usually referring to my size – or lack of it – rather than virtue. I can’t say I feel flattered by being described as diminutive either. It just makes me realise how little I am!

      1. I know just what you mean, but coming from the other direction. Why the heck do people have to comment on our height? I don’t go round telling people they’re so average height!

      2. People comment on all aspects of appearance, so I suppose we’ll just have to put up with it. The worst thing for any woman conscious of her weight, is for someone to casually remark that she’s gained a few pounds lately. I don’t have that problem at least, but my ‘shortness’ is a sore point with me. I magine, if you’re tall, it would be just the same. I suppose we all want to fit in with the ‘norm’ in some things.:)

      3. think you’re right, people comment on anything that isn’t the norm, but I think with height it’s mean because it’s completely out of an individual’s control. And yes, I agree, I think

      4. Are you tall, Bekki? It’s very hard to tell on photos. People of my height envy taller ‘folk’. Being small makes everything so difficut – like reaching thigs on top shelves. And we always have to look upwards when talking to people (when standing, I mean). I think looking down would be so much less … well, less what, I’m not sure, but they always say that looking down at others gives people a feeling of power. Now that is simply downright unfriendly! heehee.

      5. Yes, I am. But that causes it’s own problems – yes, I can reach things on shelves, but no talking to people is hard – especially in noisy environment because the conversation goes on so far below your ears. I think tall men have lots of power stats on their side, but women have lots against. Particularly when I was young, and I see my youngest daughter go through this now, finding tall enough boyfriends. Another thing is you always get shoved to the back, that even happened to me the other day and you’re made to feel very conspicuous. I could go on and on… Long and short (ha ha) I think tall and short people can understand each other’s challenges because they are opposites of what the other experiences. However while that would make normal seem the most attractive who wants to be boringly average? 😉 At least I have the superpower of being able to help old ladies with high shelves in supermarkets 🙂

      6. At least we can commiserate with each other. I’ve lived long enough now with my Lilliputian state, and shouldn’t let it get to me. And mostly, I don’t. It’s jus odd remarks that niggle sometimes. I can fully understand what you’re saying about being tall, too. I have a niece who’s a fraction under six foot. She says the same things as you do. And next time I go to the supermarket, I’ll come knocking on your door first. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have to wait for somebody tall to come past.

      7. I’m the same – it doesn’t really bother me now and can see there are some advantages, but when you’re a child or a youngster it can be a real knock to your confidence.

    1. Thank you, Heena. 🙂 It’s a word that does make a nice change to small etc. as you say. I just don’t like people calling me diminutive – although I know that’s true.
      Did you do a WOW post this week, so I can link to it? I’ll have a look a little later on.

      1. I seem to have settled for Mondays for my WOW posts – although I missed last week’s too. I’ll link next week’s to yours, then.
        (I’ll get back to you soon re. your book. I’ve read quite a lot of it now.) 🙂

      2. Nice. It’s always easy to have a specific day for the post. I’m trying to return back to posting regularly on Fridays as a lot of people used to check my WOW on Fridays (some called it Friday morning specials. Hehe.)
        And great! I hope you’re liking it (I understand that psychological-thriller might not be your favourite genre so I hope the book’s not boring.)

      3. I’ll try to get back to you by the 10th or 11th at the latest.Hope that’s OK. Are you sending it to an actual publisher on the 15th?

      4. That’s perfectly fine. Please take your time. And that was the plan but now I’m going to extend one more week as I’ve got a few editing advice for the book from an author friend, so I’ll be editing it again myself (trimming a few dialogues and some paragraphs.) So, I’ll be sending the book to the publishers by 20th.

      5. I would advise it, but if you’re planning on sending it to a publisher by the 20th, that’s pushing it a bit, timewise. Editors spot all sorts of things authors miss themselves, and will offer suggestions and advice. Very few (if any) authors can do without them! It’s something you’ll have to decide quickly, I think.It’s worth getting your book as perfect as possible before a publisher reads it. But this is only my opinion. If you’d prefer to try your luck first, you never know. If the publisher really likes the book, he/she might be willing to have their own editors work on it. But I must tell you, honestly, it does need a good edit.

  2. Great post, also love the tiny door like some of the other commentors. I’m trying to imagine it in use, were people so small in ancient times? I know they were smaller than now, but 18 inches seems very small! I wonder where the steep staircase leads?

    1. It’s a funny little door, that’s for sure. It could well hark back to people’s beliefs in tiny elves and such like. I think it’s more likely to have been a bit of fun, or something built to amuse children. I’ve never seen anything like it before, so I suppose I should do a bit of research. I need at least 50 hours a day at the moment. 😀

  3. I sensed my husband had a gargantuan dream. I spoke to him about it in a wheedling tone, trying to coax the secret from the deepest corridors of his private aspirations. Finally he broke down and spoke, sparing no technical details, of white mulberry trees, cocoons, and silkworms. Yes, my husband was planning to produce, on a scale never before seen, the finest silk ever to grace the shelves at Harrods. My diminutive dream, in contrast, was to sit quietly and study the sedimentary microstructures of surficial sediments in some forlorn and vanishing lake bed.

    1. I should post that as my next piece of flash fiction, Prospero -claim I wrote it, of course.:) You’ve written such a clever piece, and it’s so appropriate to the interests of Nick and I! I wouldn’t have put it past my husband to turn his hand to silk production, had we lived in a suitable location.He’ll have a go at growing most thingss. And sedimentology is just my thing, although I’m really a ‘hard rocks’ girl. I never turn my nose up at a good dose of paleontology, though. I’m becoming quite a fossil myself. 😀

      1. I think it’s a piece of flash literary nonfiction. That’s a mouthful!

        But I have to say I seem to be able to wheedle the true and innately humorous Millie from you, and a magician isn’t, come to think of it, required for that at all.

      2. Haha! You’d wheedle humour out of Scrooge, Prospero, and way before Christmas Eve! I loved your piece of flash literary nonfiction – even though it’s a mouthful to say.

  4. I always love the word you chose for WOW, but what I love the most usually are the associated examples. That little door is so adorable and the tiny people in the picture somehow made me think of the tiny people from Legoland 😛 Love it! ❤

    1. We had boxloads of Lego when my children were young. They all loved it and collected so may types for birthday and Christmas presents, as well as buying bit of their own. It all wnt to Kieran, our grndson, who also loved it when her was younger. Thank you for liking that picture, Khloe. It made me think of Gulliver’s Travels. And the little door is just great. I’m wondering if it was some kind of delivery hatch. I’ve exhausted any other possibility now. 😀

      1. This is soooo cute!!! Lego passing generation after generation 🙂 You’re welcome. 😉 Gulliver’s Travels – you really do have a great imagination Millie 😉

      2. Have you read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, Khloe? Theres a scene in it where the tiny Lilliputians (from a ficional place called Lilliput) have Gulliver tied up, having found his asleep. They fire their little arrows at him, which are just like tiny needles to Gulliver. It’s a fascinating story, written by Jonathan Swift in 1726. The picture of the giant cat and tiny people reminded me of that scene. 🙂

      3. I have never read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ before, but I heard something about it. Such an interesting scene it is! I should probably spend some time on reading this book, 🙂 I can totally see why the giant cat and tiny people reminded you of that. 😉

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