The lesser form of a name. I have noticed an interesting parallel between people being annoyed by people using a diminutive form of their name, like Chrisy instead of Christine, and diminutive names for groups. For example though a few people get upset by even their family using the familiar diminutive, most only get upset when strangers presume they can use it. Likewise when a group name like Yank or Fag is used by a member of the group in question it is generally accepted, though not by all.

There appears to be a general perception by people that a word is acceptable or not based upon the familiarity of the person using it. I also find it interesting to note how many insults directed at groups are diminutive forms for some name of the group.

I would seriously like to hear from anyone that knows of any formal research into this area. /msg me or beter yet check out my user node for my ICQ number.

Di*min"u*tive (?), a. [Cf. L. deminutivus, F. diminutif.]


Below the average size; very small; little.


Expressing diminution; as, a diminutive word.


Tending to diminish.


Diminutive of liberty. Shaftesbury.


© Webster 1913.

Di*min"u*tive, n.


Something of very small size or value; an insignificant thing.

Such water flies, diminutives of nature. Shak.

2. Gram.

A derivative from a noun, denoting a small or a young object of the same kind with that denoted by the primitive; as, gosling, eaglet, lambkin.

Babyisms and dear diminutives. Tennyson.

⇒ The word sometimes denotes a derivative verb which expresses a diminutive or petty form of the action, as scribble.


© Webster 1913.

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