\ \ [16] ‘Smallness’ is a purely secondary semantic development as far as miniature is concerned, inspired by its accidental similarity to the min- element of words like minimum and minute. It in fact comes ultimately from Latin miniumred lead’. Red lead was used in ancient and medieval times for making a sort of red ink with which manuscripts were decorated, and so the derived medieval Latin verb miniāre was coined for ‘illuminate a manuscript’.
\ \ Italian took this over as miniare, and derived miniaturapainting, illustrating’ from it. It referred particularly to the small paintings in manuscripts, and when English borrowed it as miniature it was soon broadened out to any ‘small image’. Association with minute, etc led by the early 18th century to its adjectival use for ‘small’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • MINIATURE — L’art de la miniature dérive de l’enluminure médiévale; il lui emprunte aussi son nom, puisque le terme de miniature semble provenir de minium , couleur rouge employée dans la décoration des manuscrits. Il n’est pas à exclure, en outre, que… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • miniature — MINIATURE. s. f. On prononce ordinairement, Mignature. Sorte de peinture delicate qui se fait à petits points. Portrait de miniature. portrait en miniature. petite miniature …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Miniature — Min i*a*ture, a. Being on a small scale; much reduced from the reality; as, a miniature copy. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • miniature — [adj] tiny baby, diminutive, itsybitsy*, itty bitty*, Lilliputian*, little, midget, mini, minikin, minuscule, minute, mite, model, petite, pint sized, pocket, reduced, scaleddown, small, small scale, teensy*, teeny*, toy, wee; concepts 773,789… …   New thesaurus

  • miniature — [min′ē ə chər, min′i chər] n. [It miniatura, rubrication, illumination of manuscripts < ML < pp. of L miniare, to paint red < minium, red lead (see MINIUM): sense infl. by L minutus,MINUTE2] 1. a small painting or illuminated letter, as… …   English World dictionary

  • Miniature — Min i*a*ture, v. t. To represent or depict in a small compass, or on a small scale. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Miniature — Min i*a*ture (?; 277), n. [It. miniatura, fr. L. miniare. See {Miniate}, v.,{Minium}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Originally, a painting in colors such as those in medi[ae]val manuscripts; in modern times, any very small painting, especially a portrait.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • miniature — index model, tenuous Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • miniature — adj minute, diminutive, *small, little, wee, tiny, teeny, weeny …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • miniature — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ of a much smaller size than normal. ► NOUN 1) a thing that is much smaller than normal. 2) a very small and minutely detailed portrait. 3) a picture or decorated letter in an illuminated manuscript. DERIVATIVES miniaturize (also …   English terms dictionary

  • Miniature — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Miniature (homonymie). Miniature enluminée sur parchemin …   Wikipédia en Français

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