Diminutives

A diminutive name or word is formed from another by the addition of a suffix expressing smallness in size: a booklet is a small book; a dinette is a small version of a dining set. Traditionally, the term 'diminutive' has been used to refer to words which denote smallness and possibly also expressing an attitude. The expressed attitude can be either positive or negative.

In English language the formation of diminutives is by adding suffixes. It has a great variety of historic diminutives adopted from other languages. A diminutive can sometimes be added to an uncountable noun to refer to a single portion. E.g.: ice, ice cream. 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, ‘The diminutive of Charles is Charlie.

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