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Difference Between Dwarf and Midget

dwarf-and-midget_sDwarf vs Midget

Dwarf and midget are sometimes used synonymously. That is because these two terms refer to people that are vertically challenged. However, the terms dwarf and midget are not similar. They are totally different from each other. Here are some major differences between a dwarf and a midget.

First of all, you have to be careful when using these terms when referring to vertically challenged individuals. Midget is considered not politically correct and has derogatory connotation. Among the community of vertically challenged individuals, the term dwarf is not offensive.

In terms of physical characteristics, the term dwarf refers to very short individuals with disproportionate body. A dwarf could have a normal sized head but with very short arms and small hands. In contrast, a midget is an individual with very short stature but has proportional body. Because of these distinguishing characteristics, there is no associated problem with the growth of a midget while the growth of a dwarf can cause disability.

A dwarf person has a medical condition called dwarfism. This is caused by a genetic disorder. Meanwhile, a midget usually inherits the condition from his or her parents. It can also be caused by malnutrition.

Because dwarfism is a specific medical condition, a dwarf can suffer from lots of physical and health problems. It should be noted that a midget is a person in perfect health. A dwarf can suffer from malformed bones and joints, nerve compression, and possible disorientation of the organs. These conditions will not happen to midget people.

A dwarf can correct the condition through surgery. A procedure called limb lengthening surgery is usually performed. A midget can add more inches to his or her height by taking hormonal supplements and proper nutrition.

These are the characteristics that distinguish a dwarf from a midget. Do take note that the socially acceptable term for vertically challenged individuals is dwarf and not midget.

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  1. It’s a bit rough to be called a dwarf when you don’t suffer from dwarfism. If midget is offensive then there should be a more acceptable term than dwarf to describe these perfectly proportioned people. If I were one of them I would hate people to insinuate that I’m not just vertically challenged but could also be suffering from poor health.

    • I think that this term shouldn’t be considered offensive simply because it is a medical condition. Although I am not a dwarf, and cannot speak for them, I believe that if i were in the same position it wouldn’t offend me.
      Besides, most people wouldn’t assume it’s from malnutrition.

    • midgets make me laugh. THEY do have awesome good short games

    • Dwarf, Middget ,what ever. What happened to the Late night Middget wrestling?

  2. “Vertically challenged”? Seriously? Is there something wrong with the word “short” or “small” or “little”?

    And as already pointed out, how can it make sense to call someone a “dwarf” when they are not, in fact, a dwarf?

    • And some people who are vertically challenged are horizontally successful!!!

      • Sooo… the whole point is that the two Are in fact different yet can’t be called different things. Great. Thanks for clearing that up …..btw…..the horizontal comment is laugh out loud funny! I love it!
        sincerely, a vertically “average” person
        average sounds so .. average. perhaps I need a new name… hmm ive been called & somehow lived through, bean pole, tomboy, brainy, bimbo…oh & I’m a 2nd child 🙂 life goes on Anyway

  3. Well being a Dwarf, I have had to deal with this my whole life. I used to get upset when someone called me a midget, for the simple fact that the person using the term was calling me something im not. But honestly its just another way of people labeling you, it doesn’t matter what they call you, it happens in all sizes and all races of people. I now try and focus on getting rid of all that crap, I don’t care what you call me, just don’t call me late for dinner! LOL If society feels it necessary to put a label on me, by all means if that’s what makes you feel better have at it, if you wanna ask me what i am or what you should call me, my friends and family call me Brandon or Lil B, I have no problems with shorty or short stuff or whatever, but realize this, I am just a human being trying to get along in this world just like everyone else, we are all tied together in the great chain of life. So when you have an issue as what to call another person, whether they be short, tall, skinny, thick, black, white, brown, or purple, just ask them their name! God Bless!

    • Thanks Brandon…you made more sense than the article! lol

    • Love the humour Brandon. I’m writing a book which includes a dwarf/midget who has a name and is a much loved character. I’m undecided which form he takes. Maybe you can answer a question for me. I know you can suffer with joint problems but could someone with dwarfism be pain free without medication and otherwise fit and healthy? Appreciate your contribution to my book. Thank you

    • Well Brandon what I honestly believe is that people have been calling short people the m word for years it have only changed to dwarf not that long ago but I get it I am 5 ft and people call me a midget all the time I don’t even worry about it cause I know great things come in tiny packages and we are all great in our own ways .

    • Love the reply❤❤❤

    • Well said. I am of lower average hight and I believe we are all equal.

  4. A tall person says what..

  5. So if there are characteristic differences between a person who has dwarfism and the people deemed ‘midget’ (meaning Dwarf=diproportionate body parts vs Midget=proportioned just small) what do we really call the ‘midget’ if he or she is not a dwarf? because you said that the word doesn’t fit both but the word midget is offensive. I am not using the word to be offensive so please no one take it that way. I genuinely want to know. Is it just a matter of they are a small person? or is their a term better suited that isn’t revolving around ‘vertically challenged”? I like someone who is ‘small’ but he doesn’t see himself as a dwarf and nor do I. I just don’t want to say the wrong thing.


  6. im a dwaff and its very hard in life iv got bad legs and also i would love to make friends with people like me can any one find a friend for me i would be very greatfull thank you deborah thorley

    • Are you okay with having a midget for a friend? And no… I am not offended by the word midget… However, I rather like being called a “mini” or “fun sized”

  7. What I think is WHO Cares what is politically correct? We might offend someone!??! Like they don’t know they’re a freak with their stubby arms and crap, along with being 4 feet tall, so we better get the term right! Its so “retarded”, you know like something a retarded person would say?

  8. What the crap is that? Horizontally successful? They’re able to go to sleep, or have sex? Some of them? Or was it just a ridiculous statement, as dumb as it sounded? Some are successful in a few areas. Most are jokes to everyone else. But we need to be so careful about dignifying them, since they’re obviously jokes, that we’re being the exact opposite.

  9. What I mean about being dignifying to the extent that its the complete opposite is that the last 5 times I heard the term “midget” come up, people freaked out and said “you can’t say that!” . so that’s what EVERYONE thinks, and Everyone calls them behind their back, but they don’t want to be called that anymore, so we make a huge deal over saying it anyway and then everybody going around whispering and crap. Cuz that’s better.

  10. Whoa! ‘the terms dwarf and midget are not similar’? Yes they are similar; it is the conditions that are not similar.

    If some midgets inherit the condition from their parents, isn’t that also genetic? Just like dwarfism?

    Finally, I don’t get the derogatory connotation in the word ‘midget.’ If I don’t smile or smirk when I say someone is a midget, I don’t feel like I am being derogatory, because that is not my intent.

  11. The socially acceptable term is little person

  12. This could be used in the same way as what to call a “skinny” person or a “fat” person. They could be called waistline challenged. This could refer to either one of them. The problem is with the person who is labeling the person by their physical appearance instead of who they are as individual. Smart, dumb, athletic, bookworm, easygoing or uptight. The problem is the label, the best thing to call them by their given name or what they want to be called…just ask them.

  13. I know this sounds very un-PC, I really don’t like dwarfs I find them scary evil looking, creatures,, It all started way back in the 1960s, there was a kids TV series called the singing ringing tree, to this day I’m still fairly uncomfortable with a Dwarf, although it’s been greatly lessened with the introduction of the character Tyrion Lannister.

    • Hi little james (and I’m sure you’ve been called little James before by many or maybe ‘Jamesy waymsy’ awwww poor you – I bet you don’t even know what that means
      Wowzers ….
      So ….
      – you really don’t like dwarfs eh , you find them “scary looking creatures” “evil” too yeah? ( you’re very own words yeah?)

      I am laughing my little arse off here (lmfa)
      and I’m not a dwarf but hey what are you? That’s the question?

      Do you want me to tell you or shall I let you have a few guesses………..? Aw just because you’re ignorant bless you I’ll give you a head start …

      Go on … have a guess little James……

      You, yep You little James is the SCARY one !

      How tall are you James?
      How’s your brain James ?
      What’s up with you James ..?

      Think about it and get back to me yeah
      Very very interested in what makes YOU think you’re better than dwarfs n why you have the right to think what you think re ‘dwarfs’

      (waiting for your littlw response Big Man)

      What do you suffer from ?

  14. I’m 4 11what would I be concerned

  15. Midget = homunculus ??? no.
    Midget = short torso

  16. The fact that every article I’ve found on how midgets don’t have the capability of getting height related issues is complete crap. I’m a midge – no I don’t find it offensive – at 4’8 and have several problems and complications DIRECTLY related to my height, my most major ones being constant spinal pain, joint pain including displacement, and gastrointestinal complications due to my organs being normal size and my body being too small and cramping them.

    I’m not saying it happens to all midgets, but pretending like they can’t have health issues from it is insulting.

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