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Height Insult

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Kuroo: Inuoka's 20 cm taller than you, and yet you've played an even match. That's amazing, shrimpy.
Hinata: You call me a shrimp, but you're the real shrimp!
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Height is a serious matter to a lot of people. Most people hate being short and the disadvantages that come with it. But others on the taller side who don't have such concerns may not sympathize with their case and may even take every chance they get to make jabs about their height. Thus characters with short statures have to deal with being called things like midget, pipsqueak, dwarf, or the Japanese "chibi" and its variations. There's also the cliché "How's the weather down there?" and the sarcastic "Oh sorry, didn't see you there." In general, height insults just come in many forms and shapes.

These tiny characters tend to be The Napoleon or the Butt-Monkey, in which their short temper and constant misfortune make teasing them so fun for The Gadfly and The Nicknamer. It can become a Running Gag associated with said tiny character as well. Thus, naturally, this is a Berserk Button for them, and "I'm not short; I'm fun-sized!" or "Who are you calling short?" are usually their typical comebacks. Sometimes this is done with malicious intent, but many times this is done as a way of showing affection, or it just comes out innocently. The insult may happen because a character was Expecting Someone Taller.

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Of course, the inverse where a character gets mocked for being too tall also happens, but it's way less common. In this case, the insults involve comparisons to huge monsters and trees.

See Height Angst which this trope might cause. See also Inspirational Insult for when the insulted person succeeds at doing things that usually require a tall stature and awes their mocker. Related to other appearance-based insults such as You Are Fat, however, this one is much more likely to be accepted by the audience than the former.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • One televised ad for Miller Lite beer has Joe Piscopo play a too-short b-baller wannabe, who dares to take on taller, more skilled players. At one point, Joe looks up at one fellow whose head is offscreen because he's so tall, and taunts, "You wanna take me on, beanpole?"

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Chuuya is the shortest adult character on the show, at 160 cm, and as a teenager he demonstrated some Height Angst, getting particularly mad when Dazai called him a "very small" child when the two were calling each other children, and later massacring a group of soldiers after one made the mistake of calling him a shrimp. Presently, it's unknown if he still has a problem with his size, as the only times it's brought up are when Dazai insults him, which happens every interaction.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. has Kaidou, who's the shortest student in his class (he's about 159 cm tall). So Nendou always greets him with "Hey, runt!" and often makes jabs at his height to get on his nerves, and it works every damn time. Saiko also nicknames him "tiny peasant", but he only takes offense to being called poor.
  • It became a Running Gag for almost everyone in Fullmetal Alchemist to call Edward a pipsqueak or point out his short stature in any way to the point where he became known for always throwing a fit when someone mentions his height.
    Pride: Oh cool! You're a tiny alchemist, just like everyone says!
    [Edward gets angry as expected]
    Pride: You hate being called small, just like everyone says!
    • Special mention goes to when one of Winry's comments about not liking men who are shorter than her makes him sad instead of angry.
      Edward: crying You can't judge a man for something he can't help! wail
  • Haikyuu!!:
    • Hinata constantly gets called "chibi-suki" or "chibi-chan" (translated as shrimp-chan) by others around him, especially Oikawa and Kuroo, for being too short to play volleyball which he overcomes by jumping higher and improving himself. However, when Oikawa grows closer to Hinata by the end of the series, he drops it completely and starts addressing him by his given name.
    • Similarly, the old coach Hinata visits for advice refers to him as "Shrimpy" at first but upgrades it to "Shrimpo" (chibitaro) after Hinata starts improving and the coach warms up to him.
  • When Shinoa from Seraph of the End rides "her car" (or so she claims) and quickly realizes she's too short to see past the steering wheel, both Yu and Shiho, who were arguing nearby, burst into giggles and start teasing her about it. Then it cuts to both of them beaten up and promising not to mock her height again.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy:
    • In BoBoiBoy The Movie, Adu Du and Probe are thrown out of the Tengkotak spaceship and into the ocean with a baby squid. After struggling to swim, they're raised above the water by the squid growing multifold in size from contact with water. Adu Du notes that they're getting higher, which Probe remarks to be weird as well because Adu Du is usually short, earning a scowl from the latter.
    • In BoBoiBoy Galaxy, Commander Koko Ci leads cadets Gopal and BoBoiBoy to a Power Sphere Vault to check if anything was stolen. BoBoiBoy asks the commander why he never told them of this vault, and he replies that their ranks are not high enough. Gopal then says "You're not exactly that high, commander." Koko Ci darts back a scowl that puts Gopal back in his place. Koko Ci is even shorter than Adu Du but just as hot-headed, despite being one of the good guys.
    • In BoBoiBoy Movie 2, Adu Du and Probe steal Eggabot but are blocked from escaping by BoBoiBoy's friends, one aboard the ship being Fang who summons many shadow animals poised to attack them. Adu Du jokes about Fang opening a zoo, to which Probe replies "Can kids like Mr. Boss get a free entry?", earning him a smack on the head by Adu Du.
  • Noonbory and the Super 7: An unintentional case in "The Long and Short of It". Lukybory gets a hammer down from a tree and gives it to Jetybory, saying it's quite tall for a short bory like her. Jety looks quite annoyed at this, and later, he almost trips over her. He apologizes and says he didn't see her there because she's so puny, which causes her to snap and leave in a huff.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Loud House fanfic Attack of the 50-Foot Sister (MSTed here), when Lynn finds out she's shorter than her little brother, her siblings tease her by making puns on the word "short", saying, "How's the weather down there?", etc.
  • Yoda from Death Battle Arena makes such an observation towards Edward Elric:
    Short as you your temper is. Control it you must.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf (a Chaos Champion bigger than Gregor Clegane) tends to belittle people for their height (especially if they were taller than average), referring to the Mountain as "Molehill" and claiming Smalljon was well-named. Oddly, he doesn't make height jokes when talking to Tyrion, who he seems to have genuine respect for.

    Films — Animated 
  • A Cat in Paris: When Costa is too short to reach Nico when both are dangling on opposite sides of a statue, Nico begins teasing him for being short. At one point, he says, "Did your mum pick out those shorts for you?" (the joke being that he's both a Mama's Boy and so short he wears a pair of shorts as regular pants). However, Costa thinks he made a Your Mom joke.
  • Shrek: When Princess Fiona asks about Lord Farquaad, Shrek and Donkey respond with a series of cracks about how ridiculously short he is.
    Shrek: Well, let me put it this way, princess; men of Farquaad's stature are in... short supply? [laughs]
    Donkey: There are those who think little of him. [laughs]
    Fiona: Stop that! You're just jealous that you can't possibly measure up to a great man like Lord Farquaad.
    Shrek: Maybe you're right. But we'll let you do the "measuring" yourself when you meet him tonight.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduces Ahsoka Tano as Master Skywalker's first apprentice-trainee called a padawan. Since Tano is only eye-level to Skywalker's heart, she's routinely called a "youngling," which irks her into an under-breath "pad-a-wan" through clenched teeth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Running Gag in The Expendables trilogy involves The Team's Chinese martial artist and resident Fragile Speedster, Yin Yang being mocked over his height, from his fight against the hulking Swede Gunnarnote  to a random discussion with the Scary Black Man Hale Caesar calling Yang "half a man". Eventually subverted by the third movie; Yang was revealed to have joined the rival mercenary team instead, and actually became besties with the other big guy, Trench.
  • Full Metal Jacket: During Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann's memetic Drill Sergeant Nasty moment, one recruit is asked for his height:
    Recruit: Sir! Five foot nine sir!
    Hartmann: Five foot nine, I didn't know they stacked shit that high!
  • Tall Girl provides an infamous example. The film revolves around 6 ft 1 inch (185 cm) tall Jodi Kreyman, who is frequently bullied for her height by random students pranking her, asking her how's the weather up there, and calling her sasquatch.

    Jokes 
  • Chris Rock discussed height insults in his HBO special Kill the Messenger:
    Short guys can talk about tall guys all day long. Short guys can say whatever they want to about tall guys. "You tall bastard. You tall motherfucker. I hope your head hits an air-conditioning vent. I hope Bin Laden flies a plane into your lips!" But tall guys can't talk about short guys. That's just mean. "Look at these midget motherfuckers. (makes stomping motions) Fee fie foe fum!"

    Literature 
  • In the Discworld, trying to insult a dwarf by calling them a variant of "lawn ornament" or saying "Sorry, I could not see you down there" is legally considered a suicide.
  • Harry Potter: In one book, Ron (a teenage boy) says to a bunch of first-year students (all preteens), "Hey, you lot! Midgets!". Hermione scolds him for this.
  • In the children's book Hey, Pipsqueak!, a giant troll calls a normal-sized boy, "Pipsqueak". When the troll blows up a balloon and shrinks (it's unknown if that meant he was mostly air or if it's a magic balloon), the boy says, "Who's the pipsqueak now?!".
  • Dorian from Hunky Dory likes to call his little sister the "Microdot" because she's so short for her age.
  • In the children's book No More Teasing, Maisie's older brother calls her "Titchypoo" because she's short.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Leonard is often made fun of for being shorter than average, usually by the much taller Sheldon.
    • Howard and Bernadette are also mocked for their short stature. The latter, in fact, compensates for it by adopting a more aggressive attitude.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, Sheldon's tall, lanky frame is often commented on derisively as he's been compared to a praying mantis, though more often, the insults are directed at his personality than his height.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will often pokes fun at Carlton for his short height. While making a family video for the at the time unborn Nicky, Will refers to Carlton as "the one at eye level".
  • The Jeffersons has George Jefferson recount his rough days growing up, being picked on for being shorter than average. This bullying taught George to be contentious and combative. His son, Lionel, remarks that George must've been "a feisty little runt" in those days. As it turns out, "runt" is George Jefferson's Berserk Button, and George gets agitated at the mere mention of the word.
  • Lab Rats: Adam regularly jokes about Chase being small, calling him "microscopically small" in one instance.
  • Beverly Leslie from Will & Grace (played by the 4 ft 11 in tall Leslie Jordan) frequently had his small stature mocked by Karen. Other characters would occasionally get in on this with Grace referring to him as a leprechaun in one episode.
  • On That '70s Show, Jackie casually mocks Donna for her height, often calling her a "giant" or "lumberjack" or making references to how big her limbs were that made her sound huge. The fact that Jackie is a tiny, petite Rich Bitch probably adds to it.
  • Three's Company: In "Honest Jack Tripper," Jack's new policy of total honesty starts a fight between Janet and Cindy, thusly:
    [The three are talking about Janet's new dress]
    Cindy: "I said [that dress] wasn't right for me. But it's all right for someone with—"
    Jack: "'Short legs,' go ahead."
    Janet: "Short legs?!"
    Cindy: "Janet, I didn't mean—"
    Janet: "Let me tell you something, buster. My legs are not too short, they are not too tall, they are just right! But maybe someone with legs like a giraffe might not notice that!"
    Cindy: "Who you callin' a giraffe?!"
    Janet: "If the legs fit, wear 'em!"
  • Veronica Mars has an example where Logan tells Veronica to "annoy, tiny blonde one, annoy like the wind" in reference to her being short.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Big Cass's last feud in WWE had him mocking Daniel Bryan for his height. This led to him beating an actual midget dressed as D.Bry on an episode of Smackdown Live!. However, what should have been just a hit became a full-blown assault, and this, alongside his rude behavior and mistreatment of ex-girlfriend Carmella, led to his release after being put down by Bryan at Backlash 2018.
  • Kevin Nash coined the term "vanilla midgets" for short-sized wrestlers. According to him, only big-height wrestlers are allowed to become draws and deserve pushes and championships. This glass ceiling was one of the reasons many wrestlers of the Cruiserweight division such as Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio Jr. jumped ship to the WWE.

    Theatre 
  • Zeroth Law! From A Midsummer Night's Dream:
    Helena: And though she be but little, she is fierce.
    Hermia: "Little" again! Nothing but "low" and "little"! Why will you suffer her to flout me thus? Let me come to her.
    Lysander: Get you gone, you dwarf; You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; You bead, you acorn.

    Video Games 
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, a caller on Chatterbox is a disgruntled short man complaining about receiving many of these. Interestingly, the ones he repeats ("How's the weather down there?", "Can you get that? You're closer.") are normally directed at tall people.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: In "A Small Problem", Gwen teases Ben several times about being too short: first after being denied access on a water slide that Gwen is tall enough for, later after turning into Gray Matter (although he wanted to turn into the much larger Ripjaws) to try the water slide, and then at the end of the episode after Ben turns back to normal.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "A Pinch to Grow an Ed", the children tease Eddy for his short stature. Sarah says he has the size of a doll; Kevin calls him a squirt; Rolf tells him he would be stomped on in a game of basketball.
  • In Invader Zim, the entire hierarchy of Irkens is based on height, so the Almighty Tallest enjoy mocking and condescending the very short members of their species. In the pilot, Tallest Purple derisively cites Zim's height as a reason why he shouldn't be an Invader.
    Purple: No Invader has ever been so... very small. You're very small, Zim. You're a tiny... thing.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Beat With A Shtick", Bloo makes jokes about the other imaginary friends (which are considered funny by most of them), but he comes to regret it when he asks a huge guy with a reputation as a dangerous monster "How's the weather up there?". Thankfully, the guy actually liked the joke.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: The premise of the episode "Short Stuff" involves various people poking fun of Stitch for his short stature and denying him entry on rides. It gets to the point where Stitch gets Lilo and Pleakley (due to Jumba being away) to make him bigger with a growth ray under the impression that bigger is better. When Jumba returns, he lets Stitch know that being bigger is not good for Stitch and that he is fine at his normal size which Lilo agrees with. The episode ends with Stitch coming to terms and brushing off the comments.
  • Teen Titans Go!: Robin is sometimes mocked for his supposedly short height (despite the fact that he's the third-tallest member of the group), especially in Season 2. In "Cool School", for example, Rose calls Robin short and the impact of her words literally injures him, so much that he falls over.

    Real Life 
  • Kevin Hart:
    • He gets to hear lots of jokes about his height throughout his career, but in a particular The Graham Norton Show interview, Dwayne Johnson asks him how is it like being 3'2 then imitates him having to look up at fans when they spot him outside.
    • In another interview with Dwayne, Kevin straight-up says "tall people are stupid" while laughing.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Adu Du and Probe Can't Swim

When they both get dumped in the ocean, Probe remarks on his boss' swimming skills, but Adu Du recalls he can't swim and sinks. Probe saves him, Adu Du is grateful Probe can swim, and the same thing happens again - only they didn't sink because of the giant squid under them. Adu Du is perplexed that they're rising up, and Probe agrees it to be odd because Adu Du isn't really that tall.

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