Definition of miniature in US English:



  • attributive (especially of a replica of something) of a much smaller size than normal; very small.

    ‘children dressed as miniature adults’
    • ‘After the age of two, Omani children are encouraged to behave like miniature adults, taking on duties or hospitality toward guests at a very young age.’
    • ‘Members stockpiled so much food at their facility that by the beginning of April, there were two miniature mountains of food formed, and organizers were running out of floor space.’
    • ‘For instance, children can play with miniature toys, reducing the overwhelming world of adults to a manageable size.’
    • ‘She stays just long enough to chat to some friends and recommend the tiny crème brûlées and miniature lemon meringue pies.’
    • ‘And out of that we're getting a hedge of miniature roses.’
    • ‘When he awakens, he is tied to the ground and surrounding by thousands of miniature people called Lilliputians.’
    • ‘This year National Tree Day saw sixty-five Swansea primary school students assist in assembling miniature igloos for the local penguin population.’
    • ‘Month-old ringtails look like miniature adults: the same black and white clown make-up and soft grey fur.’
    • ‘Mr Petty is set to create a one-acre fairground on Labworth Recreation Ground which would include around 40 miniature attractions as well as side shows and coconut shies.’
    • ‘The souvenirs include bangles, hair accessories, belts, jewelry boxes, fans, ship ornaments, miniature daggers and others besides.’
    • ‘A Romanian gang used miniature video equipment to record people at ATM machines before stealing cash from their accounts, a court was told over the weekend.’
    • ‘Hot hors d’œuvres could be miniature savoury pastries or tiny fritters or other similar titbits; but these do not belong to the mainstream hors d’œuvres tradition.’
    • ‘Scarborough's seaside chalets and miniature railway are being granted a reprieve under changes to controversial proposals to redevelop the resort's North side.’
    • ‘Well-heeled women find toy-dogs - miniature Pomeranians, beagles and Pekingese - integral accessories.’
    • ‘These include artificial insemination techniques for bees involving microscopes and miniature syringes.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, miniature roses have little or no fragrance.’
    • ‘On Sunday afternoon resident Nev Boulton gave children and adults rides on his miniature steam railway line.’
    • ‘Guaranteed to be Hull's most unusual building, features will include a forest of miniature wind turbines and solar panels, a wall made of upturned caravans and a footpath of shower trays.’
    • ‘It includes a floor mattress, miniature bottle of baby oil and a mini hand towel.’
    • ‘But for parents whose hearts sink at the idea of a house full of miniature wedding gowns, hair jewels and high-heeled shoes, Smith points out that peer pressure can work in other ways.’
    small-scale, scaled-down, mini
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  • 1A thing that is much smaller than normal, especially a small replica or model.

    • ‘A narrow lane in the Ahimsapuram First Street leads to his tiny workplace where he has piled up moving miniatures of automobiles and machines.’
    • ‘Herman said proudly that he was among the writers of the Prodeo bulletin published by the boys, while Ardi bragged about his ability to change cement sacks into colorful motorcycle miniatures.’
    • ‘You can choose from a family bag of Kit Kat chunky miniatures, a family bar of Milky way or Nestle Double Cream Chocolate, all which have been donated by Poundland.’
    • ‘The latest collectible craze to hit Hong Kong - and Japan, Singapore and even the U.S. - are colorful plastic miniatures of street-smart punks and mutants created by two local artists.’
    • ‘A wide range of miniatures like dainty chariots, idols of Lord Ganesha, crystal pens, pen stands, paperweights, ashtrays that were shaped like leaves and a charging bull were some of the items that could be suitable as gift items.’
    • ‘Lighthouse miniatures are now being produced and offered for sale.’
    • ‘Weir chose to use miniatures rather than 3D digital models for the ships, and the word is that some of the models, created at Peter Jackson's WETA shop, were up to 25 feet long.’
    • ‘As miniatures of human bodies, dolls have had many meanings.’
    • ‘Residents will adorn the town's entire main street with more than 300 quilts ranging in size from miniatures to queen-sized bed covers.’
    • ‘Vintage 20Mil preserves lots of photos of miniatures from the 1960s crucible of U.K. war gaming - an era when modern miniatures were developing from toy soldiers.’
    • ‘The display will include ancient millstones, Victorian and Albert period clothing, and the Michael Cowan working miniatures.’
    • ‘Of course, the crew didn't exactly have the same resources as Clouzot, so two trucks became one, special effects were done with stuff like miniatures and homemade bluescreens, and Alberta farmland stood in for lush exotic jungle.’
    • ‘Rufforth Airfield has been hosting the Yorkshire Air Spectacular, with flying model craft ranging in size from miniatures to monsters with a 25 ft wingspan.’
    • ‘At first glance, the portions may appear small, but don't let these miniatures fool you.’
    • ‘The strong demand for bicycle and pedicab miniatures enabled Maryanto to repay the loan in full, on time.’
    • ‘Here's where all the technical goodies come in - stunt doubles, location miniatures, long-lens shots - Treu spills it all.’
    • ‘The same goes for the gulab jaman dessert, deep-fried doughy miniatures bathed in sweet syrup, a little too dense in consistency.’
    • ‘Hazy, speculative figures wander through the evocative landscapes and buildings he creates using miniatures, models, televisions, glass and mirrors.’
    • ‘Warhammer is a table top fantasy war-game, which means you get a whole bunch of little miniatures representing dwarves, vampires, unicorns etc, and make them fight each other.’
    replica, copy, representation, mock-up, dummy, imitation, double, duplicate, lookalike, reproduction
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    1. 1.1 A plant or animal that is a smaller version of an existing variety or breed.
      • ‘For miniatures used as landscape plants, use hedge shears to maintain size.’
      • ‘There were horses galore, from large Shires to miniatures, and the number of horse entries provided the organisers with a record for this year's show with a difference.’
      • ‘The aristocrats of plants grown in pots are bonsai, perfectly normal garden trees skilfully trained to grow as miniatures ranging from three inches to three feet tall.’
      • ‘The family of orchids is the largest plant family, with a great deal of variety as well, from miniatures such as Mystacidium caffrum to the 20-foot-tall Renanthera storei.’
      • ‘A keen observer can also find around the same area a tiny plant, almost a miniature of the creeper Torenia travancorica.’
      • ‘Exotic orchids, anthuriums, native flowers and miniatures of fruit-laden trees like breadfruit, cocoa or cherry can be seen in the collection on show at the Museum auditorium.’
      • ‘Maxwell, one of the Dexter miniature breed of cattle, is the first calf to be born at Tatton's Home Farm since the foot and mouth epidemic devastated British livestock in 2001.’
      • ‘Behind the large rose-shaped fountain, old-fashioned shrub roses are planted, and baskets of miniatures dangle from a pergola.’
      • ‘He's bred miniatures as small as your thumbnail, and crossbred them to give large, ranging plants shape.’
      • ‘True miniatures, the trees are as happy in a container as in garden soil.’
    2. 1.2 A very small and highly detailed portrait or other painting.
      • ‘Johnson also worked at three-quarter-length and occasionally full-length, as well as painting portrait miniatures in oil on copper.’
      • ‘While I'm waiting for my magnifying glass to turn up I shall keep away from painting miniatures.’
      • ‘A garden shed will provide gallery space for a series of miniatures and a copy of Lady Chatterley's lover.’
      • ‘Last time I did this was in Somerset, painting standard miniatures for framing.’
      • ‘Today he is out of prison and his miniatures are exhibited at New York City's New Museum of Contemporary Art.’
      • ‘Laver's second in command, Carl Winter, was a brilliant and witty Australian who was generous with information from his studies of the Constable collection and portrait miniatures, following Basil Long's work on the latter.’
      • ‘The daguerreotype portrait assumed many of the characteristics of the traditional miniature painted on ivory or enamel.’
      • ‘Other kinds of mementoes were stored in lockets and books: locks of hair, painted miniatures, pressed flowers.’
      • ‘A portrait of Barbara Barrett-Lennard, copied from a miniature after Thomas Hudson, is supported by her mourning parents in a portrait by Pompeo Batoni.’
      • ‘The giving, receiving, and wearing of portrait miniatures as part of fashionable social practice is, as we have seen, one aspect of the luxury Archenholz identifies with England.’
      • ‘During his work on portrait miniatures Reynolds turned to the Victorian paintings that had been given to the museum by John Sheepshanks in 1857 as a core collection of British art.’
      • ‘It comprises some twenty paintings, twenty drawings, and three miniatures from numerous public collections and the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.’
      • ‘In Hilliard's hands, the miniature was far more than a mere reduced version of a panel portrait - but that was thanks to his creative invention.’
      • ‘He acquired some portraits, but in the absence of substantial space for a gallery, he appears to have devoted more of his energies to creating a very fine collection of portrait miniatures.’
      • ‘Now the whole country is likely to get a glimpse of the table, which is not a font, but fine Parisian relic from the 1850s, bearing 20 hand-painted miniatures from the court of Louis XVI.’
      • ‘The picture is replicated in two private collections and in a miniature at the Wallace Collection.’
      • ‘The new gallery of British portrait miniatures, including this depiction of Jane Small by Hans Holbein, opens on 2 March.’
      • ‘He fitted in study of the museum's European portrait miniatures and this would later materialise as a catalogue, handsome but somewhat mangled by the American editing.’
      • ‘The Age of Shakespeare is a Hilliard miniature among the full-length portraits that Frank Kermode has drawn, but that does not diminish its value.’
      • ‘While I love painting and sketching miniatures, I still have a need for big paintings, bigger the better.’
      painting, picture, drawing, sketch, likeness, image, study, representation, portrayal, depiction, canvas
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    3. 1.3 A picture or decorated letter in an illuminated manuscript.
      • ‘Rank favors shallow, frontal compositions reminiscent of Japanese woodcuts and Indian miniatures as well as of American folk art.’
      • ‘In its strictest sense, the word miniature (in manuscripts) refers to paintings in gouache often combined with gold.’
      • ‘For instance, the Jataka tales of Buddhism are depicted in the Ajanta and Ellora frescoes while the biographies of the Mughal emperors, such as the Akbarnama and Jehangirnama, were illuminated by miniatures.’
      • ‘Albums of Persian miniatures rather than European canvases furnished Ottoman painters with their chief models.’
      • ‘Timur, or Tamerlane, modelled himself on Genghiz Khan, and miniatures on the wall depict his ferocious onslaught on Baghdad.’
      • ‘In spite of the banners' grandiose scale, the colorful, abstracted figures and landscapes featured in the paintings were inspired by Persian and Indian miniatures.’
      • ‘Dimitrova has spent the past year working on her reading of the visual text at the British Library, but in order for the project to move forward, the miniatures need to be filmed before they can be transferred to the final CD-Rom.’
      • ‘He has not yet advised me to use the earth colours as was done by traditional artists when they painted miniatures.’
      • ‘While the Mughal and Rajasthani miniatures chronicled wars and durbars and musical soirées, Praneet Soi's miniatures are about love and loss, about life in a changing India.’
      • ‘The manuscript's decoration is lavish: it contains 46 full-page miniatures, painted headpieces and initials, and over a thousand gold letters.’
      • ‘In an age where photography did not exist, unlike artists abroad who soften aristocratic features in oils, Indian painters preferred stylised versions in miniatures.’
      • ‘Most of the miniatures deal with the epics and highlight religious mythology and common folklore.’
      • ‘That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else.’
      • ‘It runs the gamut of art riches over the centuries, stretching to murals, miniatures and manuscripts.’
      • ‘These rather different kinds of miniatures - although not as well known as the other Mughal paintings - were patronised by Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II of Bijapur during the early days of miniatures.’
      • ‘One example of traditional painting is the Indian miniature.’
      • ‘They may include a medieval illuminated miniature; the window in the wonderful room at the Topkapi palace in Istanbul.’
      • ‘His image has also survived in a few panel paintings, later copies of original portraits, and through representations of the duke and his court in the miniatures of illuminated manuscripts.’
      • ‘Numerous panels, often deliberately aged, and illuminated miniatures or historiated initials, usually on reused leaves from genuine medieval manuscripts, survive and frequently appear on the art market.’
      • ‘He examines ancient texts on elephants and the Mughal miniatures.’


[with object]literary
  • Represent on a smaller scale; reduce to miniature dimensions.

    • ‘The ceiling here arches in this way that miniatures me, and the floor is long and grey.’
    • ‘In exchange, he offered his own likeness - ‘a picture of the old gold hunter, so you may compare the doctor (as miniatured and sent to mother in '49) with the gold hunter of the present.’’


  • in miniature

    • On a small scale, but otherwise a replica.

      ‘a place that is Greece in miniature’
      • ‘The cultural diversity of Europe is there in miniature.’
      • ‘Rather, people will take the city as China in miniature, which highlights its appealing economic potential and stable political situation.’
      • ‘But I only recently found that Hardware engineers have often buried secret little artworks, etched in miniature on chips.’
      • ‘A street-scene is played in miniature in the small stage and as the tiny puppet turns its back to open a door, the full size character enters in the large upper playing space.’
      • ‘Like the Bonsai trees in the classical gardens of Suzhou, it's China in miniature that captures the imagination, every bit as much as its grand monumental flourishes.’
      • ‘Taken up with rural England during a visit in 1972, the family decided to recreate an English rural village - but in miniature.’
      • ‘Initially needing to know the shape of the quickest hull, he modelled them in miniature, undoubtedly the first to experiment on a small scale.’
      • ‘The environment was one Coutts wholeheartedly relished, however, and it is one which she would dearly love to replicate in miniature at grassroots level.’
      • ‘And it all comes with a base, glue, thick card and brushes, in fact everything you need to be able to design your own garden and actually see the result in miniature.’
      • ‘No: the individual is, in effect, a State in miniature.’


Late 16th century: from Italian miniatura, via medieval Latin from Latin miniare ‘rubricate, illuminate’, from minium ‘red lead, vermilion’ (used to mark particular words in manuscripts).