An unusually short, small person is sometimes called a dwarf. There are many different genetic medical conditions that can cause a person to be classified as a little person or a dwarf.

Some people are offended by dwarf, preferring to be called "little people," "LP," or "people of short stature." The general condition that leads to delayed growth is called "dwarfism." The noun dwarf is also used for an unusually small animal or plant, or as a verb meaning "make something seem very small," as when a new apartment building dwarfs the surrounding houses. The Old English root dweorg referred to a tiny creature from German mythology.

Definitions of dwarf
  1. noun
    a person who is markedly small
    synonyms: midget, nanus
    see moresee less
    Levi-Lorrain dwarf, hypophysial dwarf, pituitary dwarf
    a dwarf whose condition is caused by a deficiency of growth hormones, rather than by genetic factors (as in the case of the achondroplastic dwarf)
    hypoplastic dwarf, normal dwarf, primordial dwarf, true dwarf
    an achondroplastic dwarf whose small size is the result of a genetic defect; body parts and mental and sexual development are normal
    type of:
    small person
    a person of below average size
  2. noun
    a plant or animal that is atypically small
    see moresee less
    type of:
    being, organism
    a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
  3. noun
    a legendary creature resembling a tiny old man; lives in the depths of the earth and guards buried treasure
    synonyms: gnome
    see moresee less
    (German mythology) any of the race of dwarfs who possessed a treasure hoard that was stolen by Siegfried
    (Norse mythology) a dwarf who possessed a treasure that was stolen by Loki
    type of:
    faerie, faery, fairy, fay, sprite
    a small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers
  4. verb
    make appear small by comparison
    “This year's debt dwarfs that of last year”
    synonyms: overshadow, shadow
    see moresee less
    type of:
    command, dominate, overlook, overtop
    look down on
  5. verb
    check the growth of
    “the lack of sunlight dwarfed these pines”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    check the growth or development of
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week