Posted by: Jack Henry | December 21, 2016

Editor’s Corner: 12 Days of English – Day 10

On the tenth day of English

My true love gave to me

Ten diminutive terms such as

Bunny and ki-i-i-tty.

From Words of a Feather: A Humorous Puzzlement of Etymological Pairs, by Murray Suid. (pp. 182–183)


The slogan for this section might be “think small.” A diminutive is a word formed from another word by adding a suffix that conveys the idea of small size, affection, or cuteness. Often the original word is in plain view:

1. Annie from Ann

2. Booklet from book

3. Cigarette from cigar

4. Duckling from duck

5. Kitty from kitten

6. Kitchenette from kitchen

In other cases, the original word has disappeared from current use or is from another language:

7. Jacket from jack, a medieval soldier’s sleeveless coat

8. Marionette from Marion, a given name

9. Pocket from poque, French for “pouch”

10. Puppet from poupe, French for “doll”

As a side note, the Greeks use –iki as their diminutive. A dog is a skilo and a puppy is a skiliki. In Spanish it is –ita or –ito, so girl (chica) and boy (chico) are chiquita and chiquito if they are little. I’m sure there are plenty more where those come from!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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