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pygmy

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪɡmi
 
/
(also pigmy)

Definition of pygmy in English:

noun (plural pygmies)

1 (Pygmy) A member of certain peoples of very short stature in equatorial Africa and parts of SE Asia. Pygmies (e.g. the Mbuti and Twa peoples) are typically nomadic hunter-gatherers with an average male height not above 150 cm (4 ft 11 in.).
Example sentences
  • The earliest known inhabitants of South Africa were Pygmies and Khoisan.
  • The original inhabitants were the Pygmies, but only a few thousand remain.
  • Their physical features - short stature, dark skin, peppercorn hair and large buttocks - are characteristic of African Pygmies.
2chiefly derogatory A very small person, animal, or thing: Charles VIII of France was a pygmy they were pygmies compared to the current satellites
More example sentences
  • The fall of a Titan is always much more shocking than the stumble of a pygmy.
  • Home rule has fallen into the hands of insecure, paranoid, self-protecting pygmies.
  • However, the Oompa-Loompas, a rare tribe of identical pygmies (all played by Deep Roy) who work for Wonka provoke mixed feelings.
Synonyms
very small person, person of restricted growth
informal shrimp, pint-sized person
offensive midget, dwarf, runt
rare homunculus, manikin, Lilliputian, fingerling, thumbling
2.1A person who is insignificant or is deficient in a particular respect: he regarded them as intellectual pygmies
More example sentences
  • Even with the slight handicap of having to speak in English, Mr Fischer would have these intellectual pygmies for breakfast.
  • I seek to be neither an intellectual nor a spiritual pygmy.
  • We have a scientific social system in which intellectual pygmies are standing in judgment of giants.
Synonyms
insignificant person, lightweight, mediocrity, nobody, gnat, insect, cipher;
(pygmies)small fry
informal pipsqueak, squirt
British informal nerk, johnny, squit, whippersnapper
Scottish informal nyaff
North American informal bozo, picayune, pisher, snip
archaic , informal dandiprat
North American vulgar slang pissant

adjective

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1.1Used in names of animals and plants that are much smaller than more typical kinds, e.g. pygmy shrew, pygmy water lily.
Example sentences
  • Moreover, some predators of pygmy swordtails (X. nigrensis) also exhibit a bias for the sword.
  • The pygmy hippo, which is the smallest species, occurs in West Africa, especially in or near rivers, lakes, and swamps.
  • The species lived with pygmy elephants and giant lizards on a remote island in Indonesia.

Origin

late Middle English (originally in the plural, denoting a mythological race of small people): via Latin from Greek pugmaios 'dwarf', from pugmē 'the length measured from elbow to knuckles'.

Derivatives

pygmean

1
(also pygmaean /pɪɡˈmiːən/) adjective ( archaic )
Example sentences
  • Evidence of this may still be found in the fact that the present-day pygmean aborigines of the Andaman Islands possess fire and keep it burning continuously.
  • The reputation of the tavern, under its pygmean proprietor, was but brief, as the "unparalleled" Coan, as he is styled, died within two years.

Definition of pygmy in:

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