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

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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 Gigi gave birth to Khai at home, and for Christmas, Lipa gifted Anwar two pygmy goats named Funky and Bam-Bam. Collier Schorr; Styling By Ludivine Poiblanc, Harper's BAZAAR, 14 July 2021 Over 300 different bird species have been recorded throughout the region, with ample opportunity to spot great white pelicans, pygmy cormorants, and a wealth of other waterfowl during migratory season. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 27 May 2021 All guests who stay at the treehouse also have the opportunity to go horseback riding and milk pygmy goats. Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure, 26 May 2021 So far in 2021, 10 gray whales, one pygmy sperm whale and one fin whale were reported dead on San Francisco Bay Area shores, according to the California Academy of Sciences. Vanessa Arredondo, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 May 2021 Typically, video production, whether a six second dance or just edits of your pygmy-sized giraffe is enhanced by the addition of sound. Eric Fuller, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 While there aren’t any dolphins to be found in this woodland oasis, Conservation Park offers unrivaled opportunity to spot some of Florida’s reptilian residents, ranging from pygmy rattlesnakes to alligators. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 During the experiment, Crook placed a Bock’s pygmy octopus between two chambers, one with stripes on the walls and the other with spots. Anna Blaustein, Scientific American, 23 Apr. 2021 The Marine Mammal Center has only responded to three other pygmy sperm whales in its 45-year history, said Barbie Halaska, the center’s necropsy manager. Michael Williams, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for pygmy

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

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Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pygmy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for pygmy



English Language Learners Definition of pygmy

: a member of a group of very small people who live in Africa
disapproving : a person who is regarded as very weak, stupid, etc.


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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