Word Origin & History
O.E. dweorh, from P.Gmc. *dweraz, from PIE *dhwergwhos "something tiny." The mythological sense is from Ger., 1770. The verb meaning "to render dwarfish" is from 1620s; that of "to cause to look small" is from 1850. Related: Dwarfed; dwarfing. The shift of the O.E. guttural at the end of the word to
modern -f is typical (cf. enough, draft). O.E. plural dweorgas became M.E. dwarrows, later leveled down to dwarfs. The use of dwarves for the legendary race was popularized by J.R.R. Tolkien.