See also: DWARF

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English dwergh, dwerw, dwerf, from Old English dweorg, from Proto-West Germanic *dwerg, from Proto-Germanic *dwergaz.

Cognate with Scots dwerch; Old High German twerc (German Zwerg); Old Norse dvergr (Swedish dvärg); Old Frisian dwirg (West Frisian dwerch); Middle Low German dwerch, dwarch, twerg (German Low German Dwarg, Dwarch); Middle Dutch dwerch, dworch (Dutch dwerg).

The Modern English noun has undergone complex phonetic changes. The form dwarf is the regular continuation of Old English dweorg, but the plural dweorgas would have given rise to dwarrows and the oblique stem dweorge- would have led to dwery. These forms are sometimes found as the nominative singular in Middle English texts and in English dialects. A parallel case is that of Old English burg giving burgh, borough, burrow, bury.

Pronunciation edit

Nain assis (Seated Dwarf, 19th century), a painting in the style of Spanish artist Francisco Goya
In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the seven dwarfs sing "Heigh-Ho", while walking on a log.

Noun edit

dwarf (plural dwarfs or dwarves)

  1. (mythology) Any member of a race of beings from (especially Scandinavian and other Germanic) folklore, usually depicted as having some sort of supernatural powers and being skilled in crafting and metalworking, often as short with long beards, and sometimes as clashing with elves.
    • 2017, Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology, Bloomsbury Publishing, page 20:
      Nidavellir, which is sometimes called Svartalfheim, where the dwarfs (who are also known as dark elves) live beneath the mountains and build their remarkable creations.
  2. (now sometimes offensive) A person of short stature, often one whose limbs are disproportionately small in relation to the body as compared with typical adults, usually as the result of a genetic condition.
    Synonyms: midget, pygmy (imprecise)
    Antonyms: ettin, giant
  3. An animal, plant or other thing much smaller than the usual of its sort.
    Synonym: runt
    dwarf tree
    dwarf honeysuckle
  4. (astronomy) A dwarf star.

Usage notes edit

At first, dwarfs was the common plural in English, and dwarves was considered incorrect.[1] After J. R. R. Tolkien used dwarves in his works, that form became the standard for the plural of the mythological beings. For a non-mythological dwarf (people with dwarfism, small plants, animals, planets, stars, etc.), dwarfs has remained the preferred plural form. The use of dwarf to describe people with dwarfism is currently considered to be offensive by some.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

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

Adjective edit

dwarf (comparative dwarfer, superlative dwarfest)

  1. (especially in botany) Miniature.
    The specimen is a very dwarf form of the plant.
    It is possible to grow the plants as dwarf as one desires.

Translations edit

Verb edit

dwarf (third-person singular simple present dwarfs, present participle dwarfing, simple past and past participle dwarfed)

  1. (transitive) To render (much) smaller, turn into a dwarf (version).
    Synonyms: miniaturize, shrink
  2. (transitive) To make appear (much) smaller, puny, tiny.
    The newly-built skyscraper dwarfs all older buildings in the downtown skyline.
    • 1960 April, J. P. Wilson, E. N. C. Haywood, “The route through the Peak - Derby to Manchester: Part Two”, in Trains Illustrated, page 225:
      The train bursts from Rusher Cutting Tunnel with explosive violence, the engine's exhaust soaring high into the air, but dwarfed by the mighty limestone cliffs on either side.
    • 2013 May-June, Kevin Heng, “Why Does Nature Form Exoplanets Easily?”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 184:
      In the past two years, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has located nearly 3,000 exoplanet candidates ranging from sub-Earth-sized minions to gas giants that dwarf our own Jupiter.
  3. (transitive) To make appear insignificant.
    Synonyms: eclipse, overshadow, outshadow, outshine, outdo, put to shame, upstage, surpass, outmatch, outstrip
    Bach dwarfs all other composers.
  4. (intransitive) To become (much) smaller.
    Synonym: shrink
  5. To hinder from growing to the natural size; to make or keep small; to stunt.
    • 1710 July 3 (Gregorian calendar), [Joseph Addison], “THURSDAY, June 22, 1710”, in The Spectator, number 98; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume II, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, →OCLC:
      At present the whole sex is in a manner dwarfed and shrunk - into a race of beauties that seems almost another species
      The spelling has been modernized.
    • 1881, John Campbell Shairp, Aspects of Poetry:
      Even the most common moral ideas and affections [] would be stunted and dwarfed, if cut off from a spiritual background.

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ Peter Smith (1826) An Analytical System of English Grammar; [], Edinburgh: [] Oliver & Boyd, []; and Geo[rge] B[yrom] Whittaker, London, page 17:
    How are the following nouns improperly formed, and what should they be? viz.—Lifes, knifes, dwarves, mischieves—boxs, churchs, dishs, fishs—enemys, flys, skys, spys—louses, mouses, oxes, pennys—arcanums, datums, erratums, phænomenons—bacheloress, benefactoress, governoress—boys books, girls dolls, childs rattle—diligence sake; Jane’s, Margaret’s, and Isabella’s mother; John’s, Peter’s, and Frank’s books.

Further reading edit