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A Cute Little Whiffet

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Sherry in Williamsburg, Virginia, has long used the phrase cute little whiffet, a fond way of referring to something small and adorable, such as a chubby baby. Since the late 1700s, the term whiffet has been used to denote “a small, insignificant person,” and may be related to the term whiff, meaning “a slight smell” or “small amount of something.” Walt Whitman wrote admiringly of trees, comparing their resolute sturdiness and endurance in all kinds of weather to that of this gusty-temper’d little whiffet, man, that runs indoors at a mite of rain or snow. This is part of a complete episode.

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