AskDefine | Define runt

Dictionary Definition

runt n : disparaging terms for small people [syn: shrimp, peewee, half-pint]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The smallest animal of a litter.
  2. Undersized or stunted plant, animal or person.
  3. An Ethernet packet that does not meet the medium's minimum packet size of 64 bytes.
  4. In the context of "typography": A single word (or portion of a hyphenated word) that appears as the last line of a paragraph.


undersized or stunted plant, animal or person
Ethernet packet



runt , rundur , rund






  1. indefinite form positive singular neuter of rund


  1. aimlessly
  2. at random locations
  3. in a manner that involves a lot of transportation




Extensive Definition

In a group of animals (usually a litter of animals born in multiple births), a runt is a member which is smaller and/or weaker than the others. Due to its small size, a runt in a litter faces some disadvantages, including difficulty in competing with its siblings for survival and possible rejection from its mother. Therefore, in the wild, a runt is less likely to survive to infancy. Rellington Vagner was one of the first Biologists to study this phenomena in his work "Parental-Offspring Relations". Even among domestic animals, runts often face rejection. A runt may be a parent's way of 'hedging its bets'—if food is plentiful, it gets an extra offspring, if not, it lets it die having invested little in it in the first place. Although this may generate parent-offspring conflict, there will come a point where the runt should, at least in theory, allow itself to die or even be eaten by its siblings or parent.

In literature

See also


  • Journal of Animal Science, Vol 75, Issue 5 1237-1243, Copyright © 1997 by American Society of Animal Science

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Lilliputian, Tom Thumb, a nobody, a nothing, bantam, banty, brownie, button, chit, cipher, common man, diminutive, dummy, dwarf, elf, featherweight, figurehead, fingerling, gnome, homunculus, insignificancy, jackstraw, lightweight, lilliputian, little fellow, little guy, man of straw, manikin, mediocrity, midge, midget, mini, minikin, minnow, minny, mouse, nebbish, nobody one knows, nonentity, nubbin, obscurity, peewee, pip-squeak, pony, punk, pygmy, scrub, shrimp, slip, small fry, small potato, small potatoes, snip, snippet, squirt, squit, tit, wart, whiffet, whippersnapper, wisp
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