pyg·​my | \ ˈpig-mē How to pronounce pygmy (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
plural pygmies also pigmies

Definition of pygmy

1 often capitalized : any of a race of dwarfs described by ancient Greek authors
2 capitalized : any of a small people of equatorial Africa ranging under five feet (1.5 meters) in height
3a(1) : an unusually small person
(2) : an insignificant or unimpressive person an intellectual pygmy
b : something very small of its kind

Other Words from pygmy

pygmy adjective

Examples of pygmy in a Sentence

hummingbirds may be the pygmies of the avian world, but what they lack in size they make up for in beauty regrettably, most of the candidates for the party's nomination that year were political pygmies
Recent Examples on the Web The pygmy, or ground rattler, was historically found throughout Alabama, but recently has mostly only been spotted in the extreme southern parts of the state. Dennis Pillion |, al, 1 Aug. 2022 As a half-Nigerian dwarf and half-pygmy goat, Frankie is an example of two miniature breeds. oregonlive, 19 July 2022 The petting zoo will include rabbits, pygmy goats, llamas, donkeys, and more. Hartford Courant, 5 July 2022 Weighing in at a formidable 100 grams, the pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey found on earth. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 18 May 2022 Five month-old male Nigerian dwarf goats and two African pygmy hedgehogs are the latest additions to Randall Oaks Zoo in West Dundee as the public facility opens for the 2022 season. Mike Danahey,, 1 Apr. 2022 For the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, exemptions are related to certain outreach, monitoring, habitat restoration, and survey efforts. Lindsey Botts, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2022 Unlike many of Arizona's birds, cactus ferruginous pygmy owls do not migrate or fly great distances. Lindsey Botts, The Arizona Republic, 20 Feb. 2022 Just last year, half of Washington’s pygmy rabbit population was killed during wildfires. Washington Post, 24 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of pygmy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pygmy

Middle English pigmei, from Latin pygmaeus of a pygmy, dwarfish, from Greek pygmaios, from pygmē fist, measure of length — more at pungent

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The first known use of pygmy was in the 14th century

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pygmy antelope

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Cite this Entry

“Pygmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for pygmy


pyg·​my | \ ˈpig-mē \

Kids Definition of pygmy

: smaller than the usual size a pygmy goat


variants: also pigmy \ ˈpig-​mē How to pronounce pygmy (audio) \
plural pygmies also pigmies

Medical Definition of pygmy

1 capitalized : any of a small people of equatorial Africa ranging under five feet (1.5 meters) in height
2 : a relatively short or small individual : dwarf

Other Words from pygmy

pygmy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on pygmy

Nglish: Translation of pygmy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pygmy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pygmy


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