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(often initial capital letter) a chicken of any of several varieties or breeds characterized by very small size.
a small and feisty or quarrelsome person.
diminutive; tiny:
bantam editions of the classics.
a village in W Java, in S Indonesia: first Dutch settlement in the East Indies.
Contemporary Examples

bantam [the eventual paperback publisher] sold six million copies in 20 years.
Elie Wiesel’s Great Regret Jonathan Mahler April 18, 2009

Reprinted by arrangement with bantam Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
The Mirage Man by David Willman: Anthrax Attacker Bruce Ivins’ Obsessions June 1, 2011

In another study, “one man reported that he felt compelled to incubate and help hatch out a clutch of bantam chickens.”
Will I Get Fat? 15 Signs You’ll Gain Weight Anneli Rufus November 9, 2011

He is the author of several books including Taking America (bantam), and The End of Affluence (Random House).
How the Entire Economics Profession Failed Jeff Madrick January 7, 2009

Lonard thinks ha-ha-ha and tells bantam that the rights have reverted to him, which they have.
Elmore Leonard’s Rocky Road to Fame and Fortune Mike Lupica September 12, 2014

Historical Examples

The 25th there came a junk from bantam, the owners of which were Chinese.
A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume IX. Robert Kerr

Babbitt, looking like a triumphantly vicious bantam rooster, crowed on.
Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln

At any moment some Terrible Magyar may wrest the bantam championship from us.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, July 15, 1914 Various

This is not a bantam 224 hen at all; this is a bantam rooster.
Whispering Smith Frank H. Spearman

She called Thea to come and look at a bantam egg, which she held up proudly.
Song of the Lark Willa Cather

any of various very small breeds of domestic fowl
a small but aggressive person
(boxing) short for bantamweight

an age level of between 13 and 15 in amateur sport, esp ice hockey
(as modifier): bantam hockey


1749, after Bantam, former Dutch residency in Java, from which the small domestic fowl were said to have been first imported. Extension to “small person” is 1837. As a light weight class in boxing, it is attested from 1884, probably from the birds, which are small but aggressive and bred for fighting.


Read Also:

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    to lose weight by practicing Bantingism. Historical Examples Fines inflicted by the bant caste council are, I am informed, spent in the celebration of a temple festival. Castes and Tribes of Southern India Edgar Thurston And I can stand it,’ says I, ‘I’d rather batten than bant any day.’ The Gentle Grafter O. Henry The […]

  • Bantamweight

    a boxer or other contestant intermediate in weight between a flyweight and a featherweight, especially a professional boxer weighing up to 118 pounds. Historical Examples Pop couldn’t be much more than a bantamweight, even with all his knives. The Night of the Long Knives Fritz Reuter Leiber noun a professional boxer weighing 112–118 pounds (51–53.5 […]

  • Bantam work

    Coromandel work.

  • Banted

    to lose weight by practicing Bantingism. noun (Lancashire, dialect) string strength or springiness of material

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