Lilliputian proteins...pint-size molecules...minuscule proteins

< Previous | Next >


The author uses different adjectives to vividly describe the same kind of proteins: Lilliputian...pint-size...minuscule. All thes adjectives share the same meaning: tiny.

The question of this thread is about "pint size", which I logically, rather than linguistically, deem as tiny. How "pint size" menas small in size? Our dictionary doesn't offer this definition. One pint is about 35 cubic inches, which is huge.

Olson and his colleagues weren't the only ones to be blindsided by Lilliputian proteins. As scientists now realize, their initial rules for analyzing genomes discriminated against identifying those pint-size molecules. Now, broader criteria and better detection methods are uncovering minuscule proteins by the thousands, not just in mice, but in many other species, including humans. "For the first time, we are about to explore this universe of new proteins," says biochemist Jonathan Weissman of the University of California, San Francisco.

Source: Science
New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    We think of a pint is a fraction of a gallon (1/8). We would normally buy milk by the gallon = 128 liquid ounces which is large compared to the 16 oz pint. A pint is about half a liter. Do you really think half a liter is huge? :)


    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    How does "pint size" menas mean small in size? Our dictionary doesn't offer this definition.

    WRF Random House Unabridged:
    pint-size (pīntsīz′),
    adj. [Informal.]
    1. [Informal Terms] comparatively small in size:
    a pint-size typewriter.
    Also, pint′-sized′.

    WRF Collins:
    pint-size, pint-sized
    very small; tiny
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    One pint is about 35 cubic inches, which is huge.
    Huge? A lake is huge. An ocean is huge.
    2 cups = 1 pint
    2 pints = 1 quart
    4 quarts = 1 gallon says Pint-sized meaning "small" (especially in reference to children) is recorded from 1938.

    A human (even a child) is much larger than a pint. Calling a small person a "pint-sized person" is exaggerating them being small.


    Senior Member
    It sounds like the author was flipping through a thesaurus looking for synonyms for 'small', and applying them not very discriminately. I wouldn't search for deeper meaning than that.
    < Previous | Next >