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Diminutive of midge (from Old English myċġ (mosquito), from Proto-Germanic *mugjō, from Proto-Indo-European *mus-, *mu-, *mew-; cognate with Dutch mug (mosquito) and German Mücke (midge, gnat)), using the suffix -et, originally (1865) for a "little sand fly", only around 1869 also a "very small person".


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪd͡ʒɪt/
  • Rhymes: -ɪd͡ʒɪt
  • Audio (US):(file)


Portrait of Sebastián de Morra (c. 1645) by Diego Velázquez. The subject of the painting, a midget or dwarf, was a jester at the court of Philip IV of Spain.

midget (plural midgets)

  1. (originally) A little sandfly.
    Although tiny and just two-winged, midgets can bite you till you itch all over your unprotected skin.
  2. (loosely) Any small swarming insect similar to the mosquito; a midge.
  3. (sometimes offensive) A normally-proportioned person with small stature, usually defined as reaching an adult height less than 4'10". [from later 19th c.]
  4. (sometimes offensive) Any short person.
  5. (attributively, now sometimes offensive) A small version of something; miniature.
    the midget pony

Usage notes

  • Used for an insect, this is a variation on midge that is commonly used.
  • Use of this word may be considered offensive, even when describing something other than a person.[1]




  • (antonym(s) of derogatory: any small person): giant
  • (antonym(s) of miniature): giant



Derived terms



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Patrick Sawer (2022 January 12) “Midget Gems renamed after claims name is hateful towards people with dwarfism”, in The Telegraph, retrieved 14 October 2023