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Diminutive of midge (from Old English mygg, mycg(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".



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 manyfold till you itch all over your unprotected skin
  2. (loosely) Any small swarming insect similar to the mosquito; a midge
  3. A normally proportioned person with small stature, usually defined as reaching an adult height less than 4'10". [from later 19th c.]
  4. (sometimes derogatory) Any short person.
  5. (attributively) That is 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


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

loosely: a midge See midge


  • midget”, in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017. [1]