I know you can and, usually, do simply say 'tall' or 'short'. But what if I want to say it differently: 'of [some word] stature'. What adjectives should I use to make it sound idiomatic? 'Short'/'tall'? 'Low'/'high'?

  • That's a challenge, at least in the spoken sense, because 'stature' is not used much any more. It is slightly higher diction than tall/short. Of course you can get away with higher diction in writing and it does occur there. 'in' and 'of' are often used with a modifer before or after, as in 'small in stature.' Again, it's a bit more ponderous but it can be done - 'short in stature', 'diminutive in stature', 'of great stature', etc.
    – user114352
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


Although this might be somewhat subjective, I think the following all sound the most idiomatic when paired with stature:

He is of small stature.
She is of medium stature.
They are of large stature.

With respect to its figurative use, the following is an example sentence from Merriam-Webster's definition of stature (different emphasis mine):

a man of surprisingly great stature.

On the other end of the scale (although it works both literally as well as figuratively) is:

You are of diminutive stature.

To explicitly address a comment, I would not short stature.

For example:

He is of short stature.

→ He is short.
→ He is of small stature.

In fact, I would probably go with the simpler he is short. I don't see a real reason to use an of statue construction when discussing height, since the other is more succinct and common.

However, if I did use stature, I think that small works better with it in this context.

  • 'Short'? What d'you think? Commented May 7, 2020 at 11:56
  • I don't like short as much as I do small when it comes to pairing something with stature. If you were to use the word short (or tall) you could just leave out stature altogether—it doesn't add anything. I have updated my answer. Commented May 7, 2020 at 13:18
  • You see, the problem with 'small' is that it makes the phrase unnecessarily ambiguous: is it about someone's height or importance? I want it to be clear that it's about height Commented May 7, 2020 at 23:25
  • @SergeyZolotarev That's exactly why I wouldn't use stature at all. If you're talking about their height, simply say He is short. It doesn't get much clearer than that. (Even short stature could cause confusion.) Commented May 7, 2020 at 23:34
  • Why? You don't describe someone's importance as "short" Commented May 8, 2020 at 11:35

This is something where Google's Ngram Viewer can help; searching for of * stature gives you the most common combinations:

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Of course, you need to view the actual search results to view if they match your description. That seems to be the case for

  • of small stature

    LITTLE GREAT MEN. IT is a remarkable thing that some of the greatest men in history have been of small stature. Certainly, from all experience, height of person has no influence on the mental faculties.

  • of great stature

    Achilles was of great beauty, black Hairs and crispe, grey Eyes and great, of amiable sight, large Breasts, broad shoulders, great Arms, his Reins high enough, a man of great stature, and had none like unto him among all the Greeks

    There was yet a battle in Gath, says the Bible, where a man of great stature appeared, that had on each hand six fingers, and on each foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was the son of the giant (Ibid.).

short stature seems to be used more in medical studies, which may not be what you're after.

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