common name for very small varieties of the domestic hen, 1749, after Bantam, former Dutch residency in Java, from which the fowl were said to have been first imported. The extension to "small person" is by 1837. As a light weight class in boxing, it is attested from 1884, probably extended from the birds, which are small but aggressive and bred for fighting. The Indonesian Bantam, also called Banten, has a name of unknown origin, probably from a local language.
updated on October 03, 2022