n. pl. dwarfs or dwarves (dwôrvz)
a. A person with a usually genetic disorder resulting in atypically short stature and often disproportionate limbs.
b. An atypically small animal or plant.
2. A small creature resembling a human, often having magical powers, appearing in legends and fairy tales.
3. A dwarf star.
v. dwarfed, dwarf·ing, dwarfs
1. To check the natural growth or development of; stunt: "The oaks were dwarfed from lack of moisture" (John Steinbeck).
2. To cause to appear small by comparison: "Together these two big men dwarfed the tiny Broadway office" (Saul Bellow).
To become stunted or grow smaller.
[Middle English dwerf, from Old English dweorh.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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