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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): /ˈmɪn(ɪ)ətʃə(ɹ)/
    • (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 mantlepiece.
  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, Massinger, Philip, “The Great Duke of Florence”, in Gifford, William, editor, The Plays of Philip Massinger[1], Act 5, Scene 3, published 1845, 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.
    • 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.
    I find miniature dogs annoying; they seem to yap more than full-size dogs.

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.


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