- The definition of dwarf is a person or thing that hasn't or won't reach typical size.
An example of dwarf is the planet Ceres.
- A dwarf is defined as a person or thing that is much smaller than typical.
An example of a dwarf is a sunflower that only grows to two feet tall.
- Dwarf means to keep or make small, or to make something seem small by comparison.
- An example of dwarf is pruning a tree so it doesn't grow any taller.
- An example of dwarf is placing a tall person next to a shorter person to make the shorter person feel extremely short.
This bonsai is a dwarfed larch tree.
nounpl. dwarfs or dwarves
- any human being, animal, or plant that is much smaller than the usual one of its species
- Folklore a little being in human form, usually ugly or malformed, to whom magic powers are attributed
- a star of relatively small size or mass and low luminosity
Origin of dwarfMiddle English dwerf, dwergh ; from Old English dweorg, akin to German zwerg ; from Indo-European an unverified form dhwergh-, probably ; from base an unverified form dhwer-, to trick, injure from source Sanskrit dhvarati, (he) injures
- to keep from growing to full natural size
- to make small or insignificant
- to make seem small by comparison
nounpl. dwarfs dwarfs or dwarves
- a. A person with a usually genetic disorder resulting in atypically short stature and often disproportionate limbs.b. An atypically small animal or plant.
- A small creature resembling a human, often having magical powers, appearing in legends and fairy tales.
- A dwarf star.
verbdwarfed, dwarf·ing, dwarfs dwarfs
- To check the natural growth or development of; stunt: “The oaks were dwarfed from lack of moisture” (John Steinbeck).
- To cause to appear small by comparison: “Together these two big men dwarfed the tiny Broadway office” (Saul Bellow).
Origin of dwarfMiddle English dwerf, from Old English dweorh.
(plural dwarfs or dwarves)
- (mythology) Any member of a race of beings from (especially Scandinavian and other Germanic) folklore, usually depicted as having some sort of supernatural powers and being skilled in crafting and metalworking, often depicted as short, and sometimes depicted as clashing with elves.
- (now often offensive) A person of short stature, often one whose limbs are disproportionately small in relation to the body as compared with normal adults, usually as the result of a genetic condition.
- An animal, plant or other thing much smaller than the usual of its sort.
- dwarf tree; dwarf honeysuckle
- (astronomy) A star of relatively small size.
At first, dwarfs was the more common plural in English. After J. R. R. Tolkien used dwarves, it began to rise in popularity, and is now about as common as dwarfs.
- (especially in botany) Miniature.
- The specimen is a very dwarf form of the plant.
- It is possible to grow the plants as dwarf as one desires.
(third-person singular simple present dwarfs, present participle dwarfing, simple past and past participle dwarfed)
- To render (much) smaller, turn into a dwarf (version).
- To make appear (much) smaller, puny, tiny.
- The newly-built skyscraper dwarfs all older buildings in the downtown skyline.
- To make appear insignificant.
- Bach dwarfs all other composers.
- (intransitive) To become (much) smaller.
- To hinder from growing to the natural size; to make or keep small; to stunt.
From Middle English dwerf, dwergh, dwerw, dwerȝ, from Old English dweorh, dweorg (“dwarf”), from Proto-Germanic *dwergaz, cognate with Old High German twerc (German Zwerg), Old Norse dvergr (Swedish dvärg), Old Frisian dwirg, Middle Low German dwerch, dwarch, twerg (Low German Dwarg, Dwarch), Middle Dutch dwerch, dworch (Dutch dwerg). The Germanic word is perhaps from a Proto-Indo-European *dʰwer- (“harm, deceive”); compare Sanskrit ध्वरति (dhvárati, “to bend, hurt”), ध्वरस् (dhvarás, “class of female demons”).
The Modern English noun has undergone complex phonetic changes. The form dwarf is the regular continuation of dweorg, but the plural dweorgas would have given rise to dwarrows and the oblique stem dweorge- would have lead to dwery. These forms are sometimes found as the nominative singular in Middle English texts and in English dialects. A parallel case is that of Old English burg giving burgh, borough, burrow, bury.