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[pik-uh-nin-ee] /ˈpɪk əˌnɪn i/
noun, plural piccaninnies.
Origin of piccaninny
1650-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for piccaninny


noun (pl) -nies
(offensive) a small Black or Aboriginal child
(modifier) tiny: a piccaninny fire won't last long
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from Portuguese pequenino tiny one, from pequeno small
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 piccaninny

also pickaninny, 1650s, from West Indies patois, formed as a diminutive from Spanish pequeño or Portuguese pequeno "little, small," of uncertain origin, related to French petit (see petit (adj.)). As late as 1836 applied affectionately to any small child or baby, regardless of race.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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