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 Southeast Asia.
- 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.
- 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.
2.1 [usually with adjective] An insignificant person, especially one who is deficient in a particular respect: he regarded them as intellectual pigmies
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.
adjectiveBack to top
1(Of a person or thing) very small.
- The benevolent dwarf countenances were gone, and they all looked like pygmy monsters out of an old horror movie.
- Skeptics find this possibility implausible, arguing that it's more likely this individual was just a pygmy human with some genetic defect.
1.1 (pygmy) Used in names of animals and plants that are much smaller than more typical kinds, e.g., pygmy hippopotamus, pygmy water lily.
- 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.
- ( 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.
Pronunciation: /ˈpiɡmēən, piɡˈmēən/adjective
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