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Diminutive of midge (from Old English mygg, myċġ (gnat), 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".


  • Rhymes: -ɪdʒɪt
  • (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) A small version of something; miniature.
    the midget pony

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used for an insect, this is a variation on midge that is incorrect but commonly used.



  • (derogatory: any small person): giant
  • (miniature): giant



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