ban·​tam | \ˈban-təm \

Definition of bantam 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : any of numerous small domestic fowls that are often miniatures of members of the standard breeds

2 : a person of diminutive stature and often combative disposition



Definition of bantam (Entry 2 of 3)

2 : pertly combative


geographical name
Ban·​tam | \ˈban-təm \

Definition of Bantam (Entry 3 of 3)

former town of Indonesia in the northwestern corner of Java; once capital of the Sultanate of Bantam

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Examples of bantam in a Sentence


a bantam comedian who is known to fellow performers for his oversize ego

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eventually, ispace aims to set up a robotic lunar transportation service and use its bantam rovers to identify and help exploit the resources available on Earth's nearest neighbor, such as water ice. Mike Wall,, "Japanese Startup ispace to Launch Moon Lander Missions on SpaceX Rockets," 26 Sep. 2018 Many breeds come in two sizes: standard (also known as large breed) and bantam, which are typically one-quarter the size of standard birds. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Raising Backyard Chickens," 14 Aug. 2018 Many layer, broiler, and dual-purpose breeds are available as standards or bantams. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Raising Backyard Chickens," 14 Aug. 2018 If all goes according to plan, these bantam pioneers will get up-close looks at Proxima b, the possibly habitable planet that circles the sun's nearest star, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Mike Wall,, "Interstellar Travel Requires a Long-Term Approach (and Humans Are Too Impatient)," 10 Aug. 2018 His voice, clipped and nasal, had a bantam toughness, and his sentences (in life, not literature) make regular detours from formidable erudition into the slangy and profane. Mark Binelli, New York Times, "Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?," 27 Mar. 2018 Many layer, broiler, and dual-purpose breeds are available as standards or bantams. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need To Know About Raising Backyard Chickens," 14 Mar. 2017 Kilgore, the Lamoureux sisters’ bantam coach, wonders if girls can adjust their aspirations to be KnightRiders instead of Fighting Hawks, and whether that will be enough to keep girls’ hockey relevant in a vibrant hockey state. Pat Borzi, New York Times, "North Dakota’s Loss of Division I Women’s Hockey Leaves a Void," 10 Jan. 2018 Son Jahmir, a 52-pounder, kicked it off for the family on Thursday, also in a bantam novice bout for 9- and 10-year-olds. John Henry, star-telegram, "Mother joins children as competitors in Golden Gloves | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 22 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bantam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bantam


1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bantam


Bantam, former residency in Java

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Statistics for bantam

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bantam

The first known use of bantam was in 1740

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More Definitions for bantam



English Language Learners Definition of bantam

: a kind of small chicken


ban·​tam | \ˈban-təm \

Kids Definition of bantam

: a miniature breed of domestic chicken often raised for exhibiting in shows

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More from Merriam-Webster on bantam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bantam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bantam Encyclopedia article about bantam

Comments on bantam

What made you want to look up bantam? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

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