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c.1500, "a favorite; a darling; a low dependant; one who pleases rather than benefits" [Johnson], from Middle French mignon "a favorite, darling" (n.), also a term of (probably homosexual) abuse;" as an adjective, "dainty, pleasing, favorite," from Old French mignot "pretty, attractive, dainty, gracious, affectionate," perhaps of Celtic origin (cf. Old Irish min "tender, soft"), or from Old High German minnja, minna "love, memory" (see mind (n.)). Used 16c.-17c. without disparaging overtones.