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Pikinini vs. Pickaninny — Which is Correct Spelling?

Edited by Sumaia Saeed — By Munazza Shafiq — Updated on April 22, 2024
Pikinini is the incorrect spelling of pickaninny, which refers to a small child, especially of African descent.
Pikinini vs. Pickaninny — Which is Correct Spelling?

Which is correct: Pikinini or Pickaninny

How to spell Pickaninny?


Incorrect Spelling


Correct Spelling

Key Differences

"Pickaninny" ends in "nny", making the ending sound like 'nay', as opposed to "pikinini" which ends abruptly.
"Pickaninny" contains two 'c's and two 'n's, unlike "pikinini" which lacks the letter 'c'.
Remember that "pickaninny" includes the word 'pick' at the beginning, helping to differentiate it from the incorrect "pikinini".
The double 'n' in "pickaninny" can be noted as it emphasizes the longer sound in the middle of the word, unlike "pikinini" which has only one 'n'.

How Do You Spell Pickaninny Correctly?

Incorrect: The old photograph showed a pikinini with her mother.
Correct: The old photograph showed a pickaninny with her mother.
Incorrect: The story mentioned a pikinini who got lost in the city.
Correct: The story mentioned a pickaninny who got lost in the city.
Incorrect: He saw a pikinini playing in the park.
Correct: He saw a pickaninny playing in the park.
Incorrect: She mentioned seeing a pikinini at the store.
Correct: She mentioned seeing a pickaninny at the store.
Incorrect: They found an old doll that belonged to a pikinini.
Correct: They found an old doll that belonged to a pickaninny.

Pickaninny Definitions

A colloquial term in some cultures referring to children in general.
She referred to all her young students as pickaninnies.
A derogatory term once commonly used in historical contexts.
The novel depicted a pickaninny in a stereotypical role.
A term referring to a small African or African American child.
The pickaninny in the picture was smiling brightly.
Pickaninny (also picaninny, piccaninny or pickinninie) is a word applied originally by people of the West Indies to their babies and more widely referring to small children, as in Melanesian Pidgin. It is a pidgin word form, derived from the Portuguese pequenino ("very small", a diminutive version of the word pequeno, 'small', also used in Spanish, spelled pequeñito or pequeñín).
A term featured in older literature and illustrations, often criticized.
Critics discuss the use of the word pickaninny in early 20th-century books.
Used as a disparaging term for a young black child.
A black child.
Little, small.
A small child; especially, a negro or mulatto infant. Now (2001) used primarily in the latter sense, and in that sense often considered derogatory.
(offensive) a Black child
A word that has evolved in meaning and is often avoided today due to its connotations.
Many people now avoid using the word pickaninny because of its offensive history.

Pickaninny Meaning in a Sentence

She knitted a small sweater for the pickaninny next door.
He read a story about a brave pickaninny to his class.
They saw a pickaninny riding a tricycle in the park.
The old photo album has a picture of a pickaninny with big, bright eyes.
The pickaninny was playing by the riverbank.
Every evening, the pickaninny would sit on the porch and listen to stories.
At the fair, the pickaninny won a prize in the drawing competition.
They gave the pickaninny a puppy for her birthday.
She watched the pickaninny splash in the puddles after the rain.
The pickaninny was fascinated by the colorful fish at the aquarium.
The little pickaninny was learning to play the piano.
The pickaninny collected seashells along the shore.
The pickaninny in the story loved adventures in the forest.
She taught the pickaninny how to tie his shoes.
For Halloween, the pickaninny dressed as a superhero.
The pickaninny was the youngest in the family.
They took the pickaninny to the zoo for the first time.
At the parade, the pickaninny waved at the clowns.
The pickaninny asked for a bedtime story every night.
She painted a portrait of the pickaninny from next door.
The pickaninny was always curious about new things.
The pickaninny loved climbing trees in the backyard.
He made a small sandcastle for the pickaninny at the beach.
He taught the pickaninny how to play checkers.

Pickaninny Idioms & Phrases

Pickaninny tales

Stories or folktales involving small children, often set in rural or historical contexts.
Grandma used to tell us pickaninny tales by the fireside.

Pickaninny dawn

The early morning time perceived as when young children are typically awake and active.
We set out at pickaninny dawn to catch the first light.

To treat like a pickaninny

To treat someone with the care and tenderness you would a small child.
She treated all her plants like pickaninnies, with utmost care and affection.

A pickaninny's wonder

The state of awe and wonder that young children often exhibit.
She looked at the snowflakes with a pickaninny's wonder.

As innocent as a pickaninny

Describing someone who is extremely innocent and unworldly.
He looked at the world with eyes as innocent as a pickaninny.

Pickaninny secrets

Simple yet profound insights or truths known or expressed by children.
Out of the mouths of babes come pickaninny secrets.

A pickaninny’s curiosity

Referring to the intense curiosity often displayed by young children.
His questions about the stars revealed a pickaninny’s curiosity.

A pickaninny's promise

A promise that is sincere and heartfelt, though perhaps not always practical.
He gave her a pickaninny's promise to always be friends.

Pickaninny bedtime

Early evening, considered the typical bedtime for young children.
By pickaninny bedtime, the house was quiet and all the lights were dimmed.

Pickaninny whispers

Soft, gentle speaking or sounds, reminiscent of a child’s quiet talk.
The room was filled with the pickaninny whispers of children hiding during the game.

Pickaninny bravery

The kind of brave act often spontaneously shown by children.
Jumping into the pool for the first time took pickaninny bravery.

Pickaninny pace

A slow, meandering way of moving, like that of a small exploring child.
We walked through the museum at a pickaninny pace, taking in every exhibit.

Pickaninny steps

Small, careful steps taken by young children as they learn to walk.
He followed her, mimicking her pickaninny steps with exaggerated care.

Pickaninny laughter

The clear, ringing laughter typical of young children.
The room echoed with the joyous pickaninny laughter.

At a pickaninny's height

Something that is low enough for a child to reach or see.
The display was set at a pickaninny's height so all the children could see it without help.

A pickaninny's day out

A day spent doing fun and simple activities, typically enjoyed by children.
The park was full of families enjoying a pickaninny's day out.

Through a pickaninny's eyes

Seeing the world from the innocent and fresh perspective of a child.
Viewing art through a pickaninny's eyes can be quite enlightening.

A pickaninny's mischief

The playful, innocent mischief commonly seen in children.
The crayon marks on the wall were evidence of a pickaninny's mischief.

A pickaninny's trust

The implicit, complete trust that young children often have.
She approached him with a pickaninny's trust, sure he would catch her.

Common Curiosities

What is a stressed syllable in pickaninny?

The stressed syllable in "pickaninny" is the second one, "ka."

How is pickaninny used in a sentence?

Pickaninny is used to describe a small child, often in a historical or derogatory context.

How many syllables are in pickaninny?

Pickaninny has four syllables.

How do we divide pickaninny into syllables?

Pickaninny is divided into syllables as pic-ka-nin-ny.

What is the verb form of pickaninny?

Pickaninny does not have a verb form; it is only used as a noun.

What is another term for pickaninny?

A less offensive term would be "child" or "little one."

Why is it called pickaninny?

The term "pickaninny" is derived from the Portuguese word "pequenino," meaning little one.

What is the pronunciation of pickaninny?

Pickaninny is pronounced as /ˌpɪkəˈnɪni/.

What is the root word of pickaninny?

The root word of "pickaninny" is the Portuguese word "pequenino."

What is the singular form of pickaninny?

The singular form is pickaninny.

What is the opposite of pickaninny?

There isn't a direct opposite, but an adult would be the opposite in terms of age.

Is the word pickaninny a Gerund?

No, pickaninny is not a gerund; it remains a noun.

What part of speech is pickaninny?

Pickaninny is a noun.

Is pickaninny a noun or adjective?

Pickaninny is a noun.

Is pickaninny a countable noun?

Yes, pickaninny is a countable noun.

Is the pickaninny term a metaphor?

No, pickaninny is not typically used as a metaphor.

Is the word pickaninny imperative?

No, pickaninny is not used in an imperative form; it is a noun.

Is the word “pickaninny” a Direct object or an Indirect object?

In a sentence, "pickaninny" can serve as either a direct object or an indirect object depending on its use.

What is the plural form of pickaninny?

The plural form is pickaninnies.

Is pickaninny an adverb?

No, pickaninny is not an adverb.

Is pickaninny an abstract noun?

No, pickaninny is not an abstract noun; it refers to a specific group of young children.

Is pickaninny a negative or positive word?

Pickaninny is often considered a negative word due to its historical use in derogatory contexts.

Which determiner is used with pickaninny?

Determiners like "a," "the," and "some" can be used with pickaninny.

Which preposition is used with pickaninny?

Prepositions such as "of" (as in "a picture of a pickaninny") can be used.

Which conjunction is used with pickaninny?

Conjunctions like "and" or "but" can be used when connecting clauses involving the word "pickaninny."

Which article is used with pickaninny?

The indefinite article "a" or the definite article "the" can be used with pickaninny depending on the context.

Is pickaninny a vowel or consonant?

As a word, pickaninny starts with a consonant.

Is pickaninny a collective noun?

No, pickaninny is not a collective noun.

Which vowel is used before pickaninny?

Typically, no vowel is used directly before "pickaninny" as it is not preceded by another word in common usage.

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Written by
Munazza Shafiq
Edited by
Sumaia Saeed

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