Diminutives

Diminutives are words that are formed from other words to express smallness, affection or contempt. In English language, a diminutive is often created by adding a suffix; though in a casual speech one can also remove the end of a word to form diminutive. For example, people say ‘bike’ instead of a bicycle, ‘plane’ instead of an airplane, and ‘auto’ in place of an automobile.

The use of diminutives to create nicknames is quite common in English. Some interesting informal diminutives are ‘kiddo,’ taken from kid, ‘sweetie,’ taken from sweet, and ‘sub,’ taken from submarine sandwich. Some common diminutive suffixes include ‘-et,’ ‘-ette,’ ‘-let,’ ‘-ling’ and ‘-ock.’ A few examples of diminutives using these suffixes are as follows: ‘cabinet’ (from cabin), ‘cigarette’ (from cigar), ‘hillock’ (from hill), ‘rivulet’ (from river), and ‘duckling’ (from duck).

Diminutives are also informal forms of names. Usually in English diminutives are simply shortened forms of the original names. For example, ‘Mike’ for Michael, ‘Jen’ for Jennifer, ‘Drew’ for Andrew, ‘Rob’ for Robert, to name a few.

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