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In the back of Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait a miniature reflection of the scene is painted, and, surrounding it, even smaller miniatures of Christ
A c. 1776 miniature of Henrietta, Viscountess Duncannon by John Downman


Borrowed from Italian miniatura (manuscript illumination), from miniare (to illuminate), from Latin miniō (to colour red), from minium (red lead).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmɪnɪtʃə/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmɪn(i)ət͡ʃəɹ/, /ˈmɪn(i)ət͡ʃʊəɹ/


miniature (plural miniatures)

  1. Greatly diminished size or form; reduced scale.
  2. A small version of something; a model of reduced scale.
    There was a miniature of a whaling ship in a glass bottle over the mantelpiece.
    • 1911, James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, volume 9, page 324:
      The twelve days from Christmas to Epiphany are conceived as a miniature of the whole year, the character of each particular day answering to the character of a particular month.
  3. A small, highly detailed painting, a portrait miniature.
  4. The art of painting such highly detailed miniature works.
  5. An illustration in an illuminated manuscript.
  6. A musical composition which is short in duration.
    Sacha composed a miniature for strings as a final project at the conservatory.
  7. (chess) A chess game which is concluded with very few moves.
  8. (roleplaying games, board games) A token in a game representing a unit or character.
    Jack had dozens of miniatures of Napoleonic footsoldiers painted in detailed period regalia for his wargames.
  9. Lettering in red; rubric distinction.
  10. A particular feature or trait.
    • 1627, Philip Massinger, “The Great Duke of Florence”, in William Gifford, editor, The Plays of Philip Massinger[1], published 1845, act 5, scene 3, page 221:
      There's no miniature / In her fair face, but is a copious theme / Which would, discoursed at large of, make a volume.

Derived terms[edit]


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


miniature (comparative more miniature, superlative most miniature)

  1. Smaller than normal.
    I find miniature dogs annoying; they seem to yap more than full-size dogs.
    • 2013 September 6, Alok Jha, “Miniature brains grown in lab”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 13, page 39:
      Scientists have grown miniature human brains in test tubes, creating a "tool" that will allow them to watch how the organs develop in the womb and, they hope, increase their understanding of neurological and mental problems. ¶ Just a few millimetres across, the "cerebral organoids" are built up of layers of brain cells with defined regions that resemble those seen in immature, embryonic brains.

Derived terms[edit]



miniature (third-person singular simple present miniatures, present participle miniaturing, simple past and past participle miniatured)

  1. (transitive) To make smaller than normal; to reproduce in miniature.
    • 1755, John Shebbeare, An Answer to a Pamphlet, called A Second Letter to the People[2], London: M. Cooper, page 29:
      If it be ever so little removed, or seen thro’ the miniaturing End of the Perspective Glass, it either wholly escapes their Sight, or appears to them a mere Minutity.
    • 1780, Samuel Jackson Pratt, Emma Corbett[3], Bath: Pratt and Clinch, Volume 2, Letter 67, p. ,101:
      The smile of the babe was in my eye, and in my heart. I saw miniatur’d forth, the features of the murdered Edward.
    • c. 1807, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, letter to Joseph Cottle, cited in Joseph Cottle, Early Recollections, Chiefly Relating to the Late Samuel Taylor Coleridge, London: Longman, Rees, 1837, Volume 2, p. 131,[4]
      Now what the globe is in geography, miniaturing in order to manifest the truth, such is a poem to that image of God, which we were created into []
    • 1968, Samuel R. Delany, chapter 5, in Nova, New York: Doubleday:
      [] a moon holds its gray glories miniatured in rock and dust.
    • 2009, Helen Oyeyemi, White Is for Witching[5], New York: Nan A. Talese, pages 98-99:
      Dad had had Lily’s Haiti photos developed, and [] among them was a sunset miniatured in purple []


French Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia fr


Borrowed from Italian miniatura.



miniature f (plural miniatures)

  1. miniature
  2. (computing) thumbnail (a miniature preview of a larger image)
    Synonyms: vignette, aperçu

Further reading[edit]



miniature f

  1. plural of miniatura