AskDefine | Define lilliputian

Dictionary Definition

Lilliputian adj
1 tiny; relating to or characteristic of the imaginary country of Lilliput; "the Lilliputian population"
2 very small; "diminutive in stature"; "a lilliputian chest of drawers"; "her petite figure"; "tiny feet"; "the flyspeck nation of Bahrain moved toward democracy" [syn: bantam, diminutive, midget, petite, tiny, flyspeck]
3 (informal terms) small and of little importance; "a fiddling sum of money"; "a footling gesture"; "our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war"; "a little (or small) matter"; "Mickey Mouse regulations"; "a dispute over niggling details"; "limited to petty enterprises"; "piffling efforts"; "giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction" [syn: fiddling, footling, little, Mickey Mouse, niggling, piddling, piffling, petty, picayune, trivial]

Noun

1 a very small person (resembling a Lilliputian)
2 a 6-inch tall inhabitant of Lilliput in a novel by Jonathan Swift

Extensive Definition

Lilliput and Blefuscu are two fictional island nations that appear in the 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Both are portrayed as being in the South Indian Ocean and are inhabited by tiny people who are "not six inches high". The two are separated by a channel eight hundred yards wide. The tiny people of Lilliput and Blefuscu contrast with the giants of Brobdingnag whom Gulliver also met.
The capital of Lilliput is Mildendo.
In the novel, Gulliver washes up on the shore of Lilliput and is 'captured' by the inhabitants while asleep. He discovers that Lilliput and Blefuscu are permanently at war because of differences over the correct way to eat a boiled egg – from the rounded end according to the Blefuscudians, or from the sharp end according to the Lilliputians. The supporters of the differing views were called "Big-endians" and "Little-endians." (These are sometimes incorrectly reversed in various sources; a helpful mnemonic is Lilliput for little and Blefuscu for big.)
The story is a parody of the European nations, particularly England and France, who were in Swift's view constantly at war over trivial matters. The egg dispute was a mirror for the argument between consubstantiation and transubstantiation in the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
Lilliput is reputedly named after a real place on the shores of Lough Ennell near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in the midlands of Ireland.
In 1898, the Sunday Gazette in Atlantic City, New Jersey reported the Mayor of Atlantic City hired a Lilliputian named Bernard Miller to the Esplanade Reserve. Miller denied the rumor and the Atlantic City Daily Press reported that Officer Miller was 6 feet, 5 inches and not a Lilliputian.

References

lilliputian in German: Liliput
lilliputian in Spanish: Lilliput
lilliputian in Esperanto: Liliputo
lilliputian in Croatian: Lilliput i Blefuscu
lilliputian in Italian: Lilliput
lilliputian in Dutch: Lilliput
lilliputian in Korean: 릴리퍼트
lilliputian in Portuguese: Lilliput

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1