The word "iminutive" is used in Yiddish, and, apparently, Bavarian grammar to refer to the second diminutive (i.e., of nouns).

The etymology of "diminutive" is clear. As for the provenance of the term "iminutive"--I have a sneaking suspicion that there was no term until one fine day it was divined that the concept of double-diminuition could be illustrated by example (i.e., diminishing a "diminutive" word), collaterally producing--what else but a brand new name for the concept?

When was the term first used? Who deserves credit for this oh-so-clever novellum?

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    I found this question very interesting, especially because I'm studying Bavarian. In my search for the origin of "iminutive" only brought up the link you pointed to and some other links all to do with Yiddish. I highly suspect that the author of that book came up with the name "iminutive", but it may come from another source. Another interesting thing to point out is that Bavarian uses [d]iminutives in other words than nouns, for example "iez" (now) -> "ieza" -> "iezala". Jun 30 '16 at 7:51

My guess is that it started as a kind of joke: Diminish the word "diminutive" by taking away one letter and you get something smaller—the iminutive.

BTW, stacking diminutive endings is not uncommon in colloquial German, you can have up to four of them in an ending like "-ileinelchen" composed of "-i", "-lein", "-el", and "-chen".

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    I am sure you are right. This joke word does not seem to have found its way into any dictionary.
    – fdb
    Jun 30 '16 at 9:43
  • There seems to be a conspiracy to falsify the etymology of this phrase, with some scholars insisting on a connection to "intensive diminutive"
    – SAH
    Jun 30 '16 at 10:13
  • Slavic languages are also prone to stacking diminutive endings, but I've never heard that it is called with a special term.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 1 '16 at 1:19
  • @YellowSky I've heard it called a "second diminutive" in [English-taught] Slavic languages.
    – SAH
    Sep 4 '18 at 3:38
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    I think I've heard "double diminutive" used to describe the equivalent in Spanish (i.e. something like -itiño)
    – Tristan
    Oct 1 '20 at 15:35

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