Dwarf vs. Midget

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Difference between Dwarf and Midget

For many people, the terms dwarf and midget are virtually synonymous with each other. Both refer to people of shorter stature than is otherwise considered "normal", although you will definitely want to use the correct term in reference to the appropriate people, as you will see in this comparison article.

Dwarf
Midget

Definition

A dwarf is a person who has a medical condition known as dwarfism. People with this condition are shorter than is normal for their age, and they have disproportionate body parts. The cause of this condition is thought to be either a genetic disorder or nutritional deficiency. Any adult who is shorter than 4'10" or 147 cm is considered a dwarf.

A midget, on the other hand, is a person who is shorter than normal, although his or her body parts are of normal proportion. This condition is usually inherited from the parents, although it may also be caused by malnutrition.

Usage Of The Words

The word "dwarf" is commonly used in numerous legends all over the world, where the term typically refers to legendary creatures that resemble old men. These creatures are often endowed with magical powers and they may be tasked with guarding buried treasure or some other valuables.

The word “midget” is actually not considered appropriate nowadays, and the socially acceptable replacements are "short person" or "little person". The word itself comes from the archaic "midge", which is a small fly. Nevertheless, usage of this inflammatory term is still quite common even at present, although it is generally considered offensive by many. In general, "dwarf" is a more socially acceptable term than “midget”, which has numerous derogatory connotations.

Effects/Characteristics

A person with dwarfism is characterized by an extremely short stature and body parts that are disproportionate. A midget or little person on the other hand is also extremely short, although the body parts may be more "normally" proportioned. Many–although not all–dwarfs are also plagued with a host of physical problems and health issues, while "midgets" generally do not have any physical issues with the exception of their short size. Among the physical issues that many dwarfs may have to face are malformed bones, compression of the nerves, diseases of the joints, and organs that grow in abnormal positions and/or sizes.

Despite the relative lack of physical conditions associated with midgets, both types of people tend to be burdened with the same psychological and/or social problems associated with their physical conditions. Prejudice remains a widespread hindrance, and they may get in the way of these people developing confidence. In addition, dwarfs and midgets generally have fewer opportunities available to them compared to their normal height counterparts.

Similarities and Differences

Dwarf

  • A person that has a medical condition known as dwarfism
  • Shorter than normal for their age with disproportionate body parts
  • Any adult who is shorter than 4'10" or 147 cm
  • "Little People, Big World" is a TLC channel reality series which has run since March 2006 through season 6 which ended Dec. 8, 2010. It features a dwarf couple who are raising their children on a farm in Oregon and encountering normal life.

Midget

  • Shorter than normal, although with body parts of normal proportion
  • Usually inherited from the parents, although it may also be caused by malnutrition
  • Generally considered an offensive term nowadays

Which term is least offensive?
  • Dwarf
  • Midget
 
 

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