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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


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)ətʃəɹ/, /ˈmɪn(i)ətʃʊəɹ/


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.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      The miniature was a picture of Leo's Greek mother - a lovely, dark-eyed creature.
  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. (role-playing 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[2], 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, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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