pick·​a·​nin·​ny ˈpi-kə-ˌni-nē How to pronounce pickaninny (audio)
variants or less commonly picaninny
plural pickaninnies or picaninnies
dated, offensive
used as a term for a Black child

Word History


probably ultimately from Portuguese pequenino, diminutive of pequeno small

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pickaninny was in 1653

Dictionary Entries Near pickaninny

Cite this Entry

“Pickaninny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickaninny. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

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