1. An obsequious follower or dependent; a sycophant.
2. A subordinate official, especially a servile one.
3. One who is highly esteemed or favored; a darling.
[Early Modern English, from Middle French, lover, minion, from Old French mignon, possibly meaning “man who is sexually penetrated by another” (used as a term of abuse) : mign-, imitative root expressing delicacy or charm (as also in Old French mignot, pretty, charming; akin to mign- in Italian mignolo, the little finger or toe, and mignola, budding raceme of an olive tree, and Occitan minh- in minhot, darling) + -on, noun suffix (from Latin -ō, -ōn-).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.