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dwarf

[dwawrf] /dwɔrf/
noun, plural dwarfs, dwarves.
1.
a person of abnormally small stature owing to a pathological condition, especially one suffering from cretinism or some other disease that produces disproportion or deformation of features and limbs.
2.
an animal or plant much smaller than the average of its kind or species.
3.
(in folklore) a being in the form of a small, often misshapen and ugly, man, usually having magic powers.
4.
Astronomy, dwarf star.
adjective
5.
of unusually small stature or size; diminutive.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause to appear or seem small in size, extent, character, etc., as by being much larger or better:
He dwarfed all his rivals in athletic ability.
7.
to make dwarf or dwarfish; prevent the due development of.
verb (used without object)
8.
to become stunted or smaller.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English dwerf, Old English dweorh; replacing Middle English dwerg, Old English dweorg; cognate with Old High German twerg, Old Norse dvergr
Related forms
dwarflike, adjective
dwarfness, noun
undwarfed, adjective
Synonyms
1. Dwarf, midget, pygmy are terms for a very small person. A dwarf is someone checked in growth or stunted, or in some way not normally formed. A midget (not in technical use) is someone perfect in form and normal in function, but diminutive. A pygmy is properly a member of one of certain small-sized peoples of Africa and Asia, but the word is often used imprecisely to mean dwarf or midget. Dwarf is a term often used to describe very small plants. Pygmy is used to describe very small animals. 2. runt, miniature.
Antonyms
1, 5. giant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for dwarfs
  • Caught by the beggars there carved in stone and the dwarfs of bright colors.
  • He helped to construct two more dwellings nearby, and you half expect to hear that one of them was rented out to dwarfs.
  • These failed stars are called brown dwarfs and they are not as unfamiliar as they might sound.
  • Skype, with a user base that dwarfs those of others offering consumer video calls, is well placed to dominate the market.
  • The amount of pot seized absolutely dwarfs the amount of cocaine seized.
  • Its annual tourist flow dwarfs the local population.
  • The mind stretches an hour to a century, and dwarfs an age to an hour.
  • It begins to outgrow its brothers on the outside, and finally dwarfs them.
  • The file's size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined.
  • Huge star that dwarfs the sun may be heaviest ever.
British Dictionary definitions for dwarfs

dwarf

/dwɔːf/
noun (pl) dwarfs, dwarves (dwɔːvz)
1.
an abnormally undersized person, esp one with a large head and short arms and legs Compare midget
2.
  1. an animal or plant much below the average height for the species
  2. (as modifier) a dwarf tree
3.
(in folklore) a small ugly manlike creature, often possessing magical powers
4.
(astronomy) short for dwarf star
verb
5.
to become or cause to become comparatively small in size, importance, etc
6.
(transitive) to stunt the growth of
Derived Forms
dwarfish, adjective
dwarfishly, adverb
dwarfishness, noun
Word Origin
Old English dweorg; related to Old Norse dvergr, Old High German twerc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dwarfs

dwarf

n.

Old English dweorh, dweorg (West Saxon), duerg (Mercian), "very short human being," from Proto-Germanic *dweraz (cf. Old Frisian dwerch, Old Saxon dwerg, Old High German twerg, German Zwerg, Old Norse dvergr), perhaps from PIE *dhwergwhos "something tiny," but with no established cognates outside Germanic. The mythological sense is 1770, from German (it seems never to have developed independently in English).

Whilst in this and other ways the dwarfs do at times have dealings with mankind, yet on the whole they seem to shrink from man; they give the impression of a downtrodden afflicted race, which is on the point of abandoning its ancient home to new and more powerful invaders. There is stamped on their character something shy and something heathenish, which estranges them from intercourse with christians. They chafe at human faithlessness, which no doubt would primarily mean the apostacy from heathenism. In the poems of the Mid. Ages, Laurin is expressly set before us as a heathen. It goes sorely against the dwarfs to see churches built, bell-ringing ... disturbs their ancient privacy; they also hate the clearing of forests, agriculture, new fangled pounding-machinery for ore. ["Teutonic Mythology," Jacob Grimm, transl. Stallybrass, 1883]
The shift of the Old English guttural at the end of the word to modern -f is typical (cf. enough, draft). Old English plural dweorgas became Middle English dwarrows, later leveled down to dwarfs. The use of dwarves for the legendary race was popularized by J.R.R. Tolkien. As an adjective, from 1590s.

v.

"to render dwarfish," 1620s, from dwarf (n.); sense of "to cause to look small" is from 1850. Related: Dwarfed; dwarfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dwarfs in Medicine

dwarf (dwôrf)
n. pl. dwarfs or dwarves (dwôrvz)
An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features not properly proportioned or formed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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dwarfs in Science
dwarf
  (dwôrf)   
  1. An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features atypically proportioned or formed.

  2. An atypically small animal or plant.

  3. A dwarf star or dwarf galaxy.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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dwarfs in the Bible

a lean or emaciated person (Lev. 21:20).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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