1. (often initial capital letter) a chicken of any of several varieties or breeds characterized by very small size.
  2. a small and feisty or quarrelsome person.


  1. diminutive; tiny: bantam editions of the classics.


  1. a village in W Java, in S Indonesia: first Dutch settlement in the East Indies.


  1. any of various very small breeds of domestic fowl
  2. a small but aggressive person
  3. boxing short for bantamweight
  4. Canadian
    1. an age level of between 13 and 15 in amateur sport, esp ice hockey
    2. (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.

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