Follow TV Tropes



Go To

"I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hand, and a quiver at his back."
Lemuel Gulliver, Gulliver’s Travels

Little Peoplereally little people. Lilliputians are humanoid characters whose main characteristic is that they are very, very small. Like, up to your knee small. Size of your thumb small. Size of an ant small.

This may be the result of a shrink ray experiment gone wrong, but it's most likely the natural size of these beings, in which case they probably live in a Mouse World. Whatever the case, you can be assured that life for these guys is going to be tough, as every insect is a threat, every step up a staircase is a colossal climb, and no big person ever watches where they're stepping.

Lilliputian Warriors is a subtrope, for when these guys kick ass despite fitting in the palm of a hand. Keep in mind these aren't The Fair Folk—fairies already have their own tropes. House Fey are similar, however. Regular-sized people who shrink down and then revert to normal size fall under Incredible Shrinking Man; this is for naturally small humanoids. Contrast Our Giants Are Bigger, to whom we are the Lilliputians.


Not to be confused with Liverpudlians.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Littl' Bits, a children's anime series from 1980, shown stateside on Nickelodeon.
  • Chara in Shugo Chara! sleep in eggs and hang out in a dollhouse while their humans are at school.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars where an alien race are doll sized.
  • The Shaman King anime/manga has little people called Koropokkuru (Minutians in the American dub), which descended from Ainu folklore.
  • The Borrowers in Arrietty.
  • The dwarves in One Piece, tiny and cute people with long pointy noses, and fox-like tails. They are also insanely fast and powerful despite their size.
  • Nagisa and her brethren in My Monster Secret are basically Human Aliens, except they have a glowing antenna on their head… and are a few inches tall. Because of this they use a Mobile-Suit Human version of themselves to interact with humanity.
  • The ongoing Hakumei & Mikochi is about the namesake pair of lilliput girls, Hakumei and Mikochi, and their daily activities in a world where humans are typically about 9 centimetres (3.5 inches) tall and animals can talk.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comics Universe: In "Micro-Ducks from Outer Space" by Carl Barks (which inspired an episode of DuckTales (1987)), Scrooge McDuck has a run-in with miniature aliens seeking to trade for Earth goods.
  • Spinning off from the folk examples, the comic Fables has a town inhabited by actual Lilliputians who escaped the Homelands and joined up with other tiny folk heroes. They double as Lilliputian Warriors, especially when mounted on rodents as the Mouse Patrol. The name of the new village they formed? Littletown. (Smallville got outvoted.)
  • Superman:
    • People from the Bottled City of Kandor in the Superman mythos. Kandor was a Kryptonian city which was shrunk by Brainiac before Krypton's destruction. Superman managed to retrieve the city from Brainiac, and he and Supergirl spend most of the Silver and Bronze Ages looking for ways to re-enlarge Kandor and its inhabitants (they finally succeeded in a 1979 story).
    • Pre-Crisis, Supergirl's parents and the remainder of the survivors of Argo City shrank and moved to Kandor after Kara rescued them from the Survival Zone.
    • Whenever Kal and Kara wanted to visit the Kandorians they needed to shrink to go in the Bottle City.
    • In Krypton No More, they are so worried about Superman’s deteriorating mental stability that they talked Supergirl into convincing him that they did not exist for his own good.
    • In the Post-Crisis universe, the Kandorians and their shrunk city were reintroduced in the 00's.
  • Supergirl: In several adventures of Supergirl's first series the eponymous heroine turns to the shrunk people of the Bottle City of Kandor to help her out. In issue #2 she enters Kandor to find a cure for her professor's brain malady. In issue #4 she asks a Kandorian surgeon for his brain-surgery equipment to cure a person who sustains a brain injury.
  • The Smurfs are consistently described as 'three apples tall' (the French way of saying they're 'knee-high to a grasshopper'). Gargamel can hold several in one hand as if they were a bunch of small action figures. In the comic book story "The Smurfs And The Pilus", however, Poet Smurf encounters humanoid beings that are even smaller than the Smurfs themselves, and on the cover of the story is even staked down by the Pilus Gulliver's Travels style.
  • The tiny marker sniffers in Dilbert used to be normal people, but then they were... downsized.
  • The inhabitants of Dimension X from Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown in his comic Yummy Fur, who look nothing like they do in this deliberately cheesy cover.
  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip involves Spaceman Spiff landing on an alien planet, to find himself standing on tiny geometric farmland, and comes across a sprawling metropolis with skyscrapers an inch tall. This leads him to reflect that human size is by no means a standard for alien life... and of course, a blimp-sized monster appears to menace Spiff.
  • Marvel Comics' Tim Boo Ba and his army.
  • In the Sword of the Atom minis from the '80s, Ray Palmer came across an alien race stranded on Earth who'd been miniaturised by white dwarf star matter, and lived with them for a while. This being a pulp fantasy style series, they had some Lilliputian Warriors mixed in.
  • One issue of What's New? With Phil And Dixie shows the title characters duking it out with inch-tall gaming miniatures. Phil wakes up tied to his bed with string, a la the original Lilliputians, at the end.
  • In Tomahawk #102, Tomahawk and Big Anvil are captured by a tribe of Lilliputian Indians. They are turned loose after Tomahawk saves the life of the chief, and the tribes later saves the Rangers from a dinosaur. (Makes Just as Much Sense in Context.)
  • Wonder Woman: Queen Atomia's slave "subjects" are all microscopically small humanoids, though they nearly robotic and do little beyond following their "queen"'s orders. They were all presumably human before being subjected to the "royal" Mad Scientist's Shrink Ray and Mook Maker but are beyond even Amazon medicine's ability to turn back.


  • The brownies from Willow.
  • The Rhetons in The Phantom Planet are humanoid but very small.
  • The Men in Black movies. In the second movie an entire colony lives in Kay's locker.
  • Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave.
  • Flight of the Navigator. Several of the alien specimens in the starship are rather small: the size of a human finger or so.
  • Critters - until they eat enough, that is!
  • The stitchpunks in the short film and movie of 9.
  • Octavius and Jedediah in Night at the Museum. Also, their fellow Romans and Cowboys, respectively.
    • The Mayan warriors from one of the other displays. But those guys are jerks, and never get let out of their case.
  • The Leafmen and the Boggans from Epic .
  • In Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius keeps a collection of tiny people created via his experiments in glass display jars.

  • These guys are pretty common folk heroes around the world: Thumbelina, Tom Thumb, Thumbling and the Japanese Issun-boshi were all said to be about the size of a thumb (who'd have guessed?).
  • Others include Mal'chik s Pal'chik (Russia), Little Plum (China), Piñoncito (Chile), Cecino (Italy), and Ali g Icher (Algeria), which are all basically the same story under different names. And there are a whoooole lot more.
  • Female versions are much rarer, but there are a few: Doll-i'-the-Grass (Denmark), Nàng Út (Vietnam), Maria como un Ajo (Spain), Finger-joint (Egypt), and a Cinderella figure named Ditu Migniulellu (Corsica).
  • The Nimerigar were a race of little people from legends of the Shoshone; these people were said to inhabit the Rocky Mountains. In fact, the San Pedro Mountains Mummy found in a cave in Carbon County, Wyoming brought more attention to these legends. Believers argue this mummy is the actual remains of a little person. Skeptics say these remains are either an anencephalic infant or just a hoax made by a taxidermist. At present, the mummy has disappeared with its current whereabouts unknown.

  • Jonathan Swift's Gulliver’s Travels is the Trope Namer, giving us Lilliputians, said to be around six inches tall. They're so popular "lilliputian" is actually a dictionary word that means "very small." Note that when Gulliver travels to Brobdingnag, he becomes the Lilliputian: Lilliputians are smaller than us at a 12:1 ratio, and humans are smaller than Brobdingnags at the same ratio. Yes, lampshaded by the intellectual protagonist. Also similarly, "brobdingnagian" is in the dictionary too. Guess what it means?
  • In The Borrowers, the protagonists are small humans just a few inches tall, who secretly live under the floorboards of a normal-sized human's house.
  • In the book Adventures in Legoland, the LEGO people are like this when they come to life at night.
  • The Helmacrons in Animorphs.
  • Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White is essentially a piece of Gulliver's Travels fanfic centered on a girl who finds a group of Lilliputians who've taken refuge on her decaying ancestral estate.
  • The Carpet People and The Bromeliad by Terry Pratchett.
    • The nomes in The Bromeliad actually follow the square:cube rule, unlike the Lilliputians, with the result their lives and speech are both very, very fast by human standards.
  • The Micronauts novel series by Gordon Williams (not to be confused with the toy line or comics of the same name). A group of miniturised clones created 20 Minutes into the Future as an experiment to deal with overpopulation who attempt to establish a working colony in the grounds of an estate.
  • The miniature warriors of The Lilliput Legion, one of the novels of the Time Wars series.
  • Stuart Little meets one of these in the book.
  • The people in Alice in Wonderland
  • The 1980s Strawberry Shortcake books indicated that Strawberry and her friends are tiny people living in the berry patch of a nearby farm. The upcoming CGI series also has them as this small, although the early 2000s series did not.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy describes an alien race that travels across the galaxy to declare war on our planet. Due to an unfortunate size miscalculation, the alien fleet is eaten by a small dog.
  • Dying Earth has the Twk-Men, who ride insects and exchange information for tiny measures of salt.
  • In one of the Flat Stanley sequels, Stanley and his family travel to an alien planet very similar to Earth, but everyone's front lawn is approximately the size of a postage stamp.
  • Infinity Beach, a 2000 science fiction novel by Jack McDevitt. The protagonist only realizes halfway through the novel that a 'model' spaceship is (unknown to its owner) a real spaceship brought back from an unsuccessful First Contact a decade before.
  • The Isaac Asimov short story Youth has two boys capturing a couple of small aliens in the belief that they're unusual animals. Fortunately the aliens are smart enough to realize that harming the children would be a bad idea, so they just wait for the boys' parents to discover them. In the end, it is revealed the captives are the humans.
  • Spoofed in the short story Matter of Magnitude by Al Sevcik. Earth has a mile-long battleship which it uses to enforce galactic peace, but it's forced to withdraw when it makes First Contact with an alien race whose spaceship they can't detect — it's only afterwards they realise that's because the alien spaceship is only an inch and a half long.
  • Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures features a lost city of a species that fits. Said city - a veritable metropolis - is so small it fits under a single leaf.
  • Lindsay Gutteridge's Cold War in a Country Garden describes the troubles of a spy whose first mission, after being shrunk to Lilliputian size, is to survive in his own garden - before being sent behind the Iron Curtain.
  • The Whos down in Whoville, only seen relative to each other (and the Grinch) in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, but compared to the elephant main character in Horton Hears a Who!, their whole society is on a speck of dust.
  • Mites, the characters from Nikolai Nosov's Adventures of Dunno series of Soviet children's books are a lilliputian people living in a Ghibli Hills-esque Mouse World (that's Earth mites. Mites from the Moon live in a capitalist Wretched Hive).
  • James Blish, in the novella "Surface Tension," has microscopic humans, produced by genetic engineering. The physics is addressed very realistically, and the biology was not out of question when the story was written, but Science Marches On; their cells were the size of viruses, but we didn't know much about viruses, or a lot about cells for that matter, when the story was written.
  • Aside from the occasional naturally small alien species, one prominent example in Perry Rhodan is the quite human colony world Siga — whose inhabitants shrunk over successive generations due to a strange mutagenic component of their green (!) sun's hyperdimensional spectrum all the way down to only several inches tall. Their traditional in-series hat is being talented engineers and technicians (especially in the area of miniaturization, of course), but several named Siganese characters definitely cross over into Lilliputian Warrior territory as well.
  • The littlepeople Hem and Haw in Who Moved My Cheese, a story about adapting to change, are as small as the mice Sniff and Scurry.
    • Also the "teeny people", "punypeople", and "loyal employees" in parodies. The "About the Author" page in Who Cut the Cheese? by Stilton Jarlsberg places them at six inches tall.
  • Adult Oompa-Loompas, according to Roald Dahl's descriptions in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, come up to about Willy Wonka's knee. Children are "no more than four inches high"! Adaptations usually go with the stature of real life Little People, however.
  • The Kitchen Warriors by Joan Aiken is about a Hidden Elf Village in a china cupboard. There's also dishwasher kelpies, deep freeze trolls and a dragon in the furnace.

     Live-Action TV  
  • The Twilight Zone episodes "The Fear" (a giant alien turns out to be a huge balloon controlled by a pair of very small aliens), "The Invaders" (tiny aliens invade an old woman's cabin and the tiny aliens turn out to be humans, and "The Little People" (two astronauts discover extremely tiny aliens living on an asteroid).
  • The Outer Limits (1963) episodes "The Zanti Misfits", "The Invisibles", "Don't Open Till Doomsday", "Corpus Earthling".
  • The gnome characters from the Belgian TV Series Kabouter Plop by Studio100
  • Sid & Marty Krofft Productions gave us Dr. Shrinker.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. The aliens in "Catspaw" only look human because of their transmuter. Without it, they're very tiny, and very alien. Also "The Trouble With Tribbles", and "Is There In Truth No Beauty" (Medusans).
  • The Collector: "The Miniaturist" revolves around mute lilliputians given to a miniature maker by the Devil, which he tries to raise in a society better than the one outside.
  • Deadtime Stories: "Terror in Tiny Town" has figurines from a miniature town come to life to attack two boys.

  • "Tiny Pants!" by The Aquabats! tells of a man's encounter with a tiny old man, and later an entire city of miniature people, who teach him an infectious song.
    Where the mountains meet the sky
    I met a very, very, very teeny guy
    Little coat and tiny pants
    And when he spoke to me, it made me dance


     Tabletop Games  
  • The Small Folk are in fact Lilliputians hiding in the margins of the modern human world.
  • Magic: The Gathering has the plane of Segovia. Everything there is about 1/100 of the size of other planes. For example, it has whales the size of goldfish and its Leviathan, generally among the most massive creatures in M:TG, is about the size of an elephant.

     Video Games  

  • Pikmin.
    • The first game's protagonist Captain Olimar, and by extension all of Hocotate's inhabitants, are only about 1.5 inches tall, about the size of a coin. The aforementioned Pikmin are no bigger; about 4 of them being needed to carry a small bottle cap. The enemies of the game are huge compared to Olimar and the Pikmin, but they're all either bugs or small animals that would be tiny to us.
    • For Pikmin 3, we're introduced to another planet of Lilliputian inhabitants named Koppai. They visit the Pikmin's planet (named PNF-404) to obtain the seeds of fruits (normal-sized to us but gigantic to them) to solve a food shortage crisis.
  • The (unnamed) aliens from Chibi-Robo!, which are only about the size of the protagonist himself.
  • The Minish from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, used to Handwave the presence of Rupees and Hearts under rocks throughout the series.
  • In NationStates Issue #29 "Minorities Demand Representation In TV Soaps", the nationality of the person in Option 1 is described as "Lilliputian".
  • Issun and his village in Ōkami are the size of bugs and live away from civilization in the frozen north. They are known as Poncles in-universe.
  • Torin's Passage: One layer of the world is filled with them. Torin needs to whisper when talking to them.
  • You can visit the actual island of Lilliput in AdventureQuest. The Lilliputians help you fight a giant during that quest.
  • Some Final Fantasy games feature a spell effect called "mini" that shrinks a target down to fun size. The fifth installment even features a Blue spell with this effect called "Lilliputian Lyric", and the fourth game contains a village inhabited by mini'd townsfolk.
  • Pokémon: Flabébé is the smallest mon known so far, only being four inches tall and a fifth of a pound.note 
  • Shinmyoumaru Sukuna, an Inchling (the same mythological race as Issun above, whose mythological inspiration Issun-Boshi is implied to be her ancestor) plays Big Bad in Touhou: Double Dealing Character. In truth, as a Horrible Judge of Character, she was pretty much suckered into the job, as only Inchlings can control the Miracle Mallet that kickstarts the plot.
  • Kirby is supposed to be only about eight inches high, which is easy to forget since his worlds seem to scale to him, unlike the Pikmin example above, and then he comes up as being only somewhat shorter than Mario in crossovers like the Super Smash Bros series.

     Web Comics  

     Western Animation  
  • In one Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons, Lisa accidentally creates life when the tooth she soaks in cola gets zapped. The resulting highly intelligent lifeforms are this.
  • The Simpsons successor Futurama did it months prior to South Park when Bender gets lost in space. Bender is attached by tiny space humanoids (Shrimpkins) who built a civilization and worships Bender as a god.
  • The Twillerbees from Barbie Presents Thumbelina
  • George Shrinks is about the adventures of the titular three-inch-tall ten-year-old boy.
  • Hanna-Barbera produced its own Gulliver series in the late 1960s.
  • The Biskitts
  • The World of David the Gnome: Justified in that, well, they're gnomes.
  • One episode of Mighty Max starts with reports of a swarm of beetles ruining a small village. Turns out they are actually tiny alien scouts, clearing the area for one of their diplomatic ships to land. Hey, the aliens left a note saying they would come back later (it's in a language no one alive can read, of course.) The aliens want Earth's toxic and radioactive waste; it's apparently an extremely valuable commodity where they come from. Win-win for Earth, Max, and the aliens.
  • The Great Gazoo from The Flintstones.
  • Galvans (AKA "Greymatter") from Ben 10.
  • Tom and Jerry Blast Off To Mars. The Martians are Little Green Men the size of Jerry the mouse.
  • One episode of the animated series Krypto the Superdog featured a couple of tiny aliens.
  • The Minutians from an episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot.
  • Once Danger Mouse found himself surrounded by massive alien battleships out to conquer Earth... until they show themselves and turn out to be tiny. They call off the invasion after learning that most Earthlings are much bigger than DM.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes actually has two named races: the Gnomans and the Racing Bugs. There are also several other citizens of Miseryville like this. Dorkus is even smaller than Heloise.
  • ThunderCats (2011) has the plant based Petalars.
  • Team Umizoomi could be considered a team of Lilliputians. Bot is a non-"human" example.
  • The Paw Paw Bears are this: tiny bears slightly less tall than a dandelion.
  • The Lilliputtians from the Gravity Falls episode "The Golf War" are little golf-ball-headed folk who live and work behind the scenes at the Royal Discount Putt Hutt.
    • Also the gnomes, who are about a foot and a half tall judging by the fact that three of them stacked on top of each other roughly equal one twelve year old.
  • The Smurfs
    • The Viking-like Uphorns and Downhorns of Season 9 episode "Big Shot Smurfs" are humanoid and as small as a Smurf's toe.
    • The Smurfs themselves are only about 3 inches tall.
  • The What A Cartoon! Show short "Snoot's New Squat" involves a miniature alien looking for a new home for his people to colonize, and settling on the body of a neurotic anthropomorphic dog named Al... who initially mistakes Snoot for an infestation of fleas.
  • The Arquilians and the Fmeks in Men in Black are two alien races of very small size. As in, so small that they disguise themselves among Earthlings by piloting lifelike, human-size robotic suits.
  • The final story arc of The Ruff & Reddy Show had the heroes on a planet populated by tiny creatures called Lillipunis who were terrorized by a creature called a "Blop." Ruff and Reddy defeat the Blop and earn the respect of the Lillipunis who help them return to Earth.
  • Popeye's Travels, from the Brodax era, was a retelling of the Swift tale with Popeye coming between Lilliput and Blefescu in their war.
  • A pair of Lilliputian-sized detectives—Rankin-Bass' Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and its Hanna-Barbera expy Inch High, Private Eye.

     Web Original  
  • Orion's Arm: The artificial Clade Nisse is actually a straight example and a deconstruction of the trope, describing the difficulties in packing a sapient('sophont') intelligence in such a small head and addressing the difficulties in keeping in body heat. They're 30cm tall on average.
  • The inhabitants of the city beneath lane five of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex in Welcome to Night Vale.
  • In Alfred's Playhouse Part 2, in the beginning of the video Alfred tells the audience that he secretly has "friends living inside my wall." Then, tons of little elf-like creatures climb all over Alfred, fondling him, vomiting on him, and defecating everywhere while Alfred laughs. For a full minute or so. And his laughter soon turns into a screaming meltdown. Yeah, these videos are absolutely chocked full of straight Nightmare Fuel, so watch at your own risk... to your sanity.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: