1. Any of various breeds of very small domesticated fowl that are often miniatures of members of larger breeds.
2. A small but aggressive and spirited person.
1. Diminutive; miniature.
2. Aggressive and spirited.
[From Bantam, English form of the name of Banten, seaport in western Java near the Sunda Strait that was important in the pepper trade in the mercantile era and where European ships would often reprovision, as with chickens of small Asian breeds.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.