Napoleon complex – Short Man Syndrome

In 2007, research by the University of Central Lancashire suggested that the Napoleon complex (described in terms of the theory that shorter men are more aggressive to dominate those who are taller than they are) is likely to be a myth.

The study discovered that short men were less likely to lose their temper than men of average height. The experiment involved subjects dueling each other with sticks, with one subject deliberately rapping the other’s knuckles. Heart monitors revealed that the taller men were more likely to lose their tempers and hit back.

University of Central Lancashire lecturer Mike Eslea commented that “when people see a short man being aggressive, they are likely to think it is due to his size, simply because that attribute is obvious and grabs their attention.”[2]

The Wessex Growth Study is a community-based longitudinal study conducted in the UK that monitored the psychological development of children from school entry to adulthood. The study was controlled for potential effects of gender and socioeconomic status, and found that “no significant differences in personality functioning or aspects of daily living were found which could be attributable to height”;[3] this functioning included generalizations associated with the Napoleon complex, such as risk-taking behaviours.[4]

Abraham Buunk, a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, claimed to have found evidence of the small man syndrome. Researchers at the University found that men who were 1.63 metres (5 ft 4 in) were 50% more likely to show signs of jealousy than men who were 1.98 metres (6 ft 6 in).[1]

References for Napoleon complex

  1. Jump up to:a b Fleming, Nic (13 March 2008). “Short man syndrome is not just a tall story”The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Short men ‘not more aggressive'”BBC News. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
  3. Jump up^ Ulph, F.; Betts, P; Mulligan, J; Stratford, R. J. (January 2004). “Personality functioning: the influence of stature”Archives of Disease in ChildhoodBMJ Publishing Group Ltd89 (1): 17–21. doi:10.1136/adc.2002.010694PMC 1755926Freely accessiblePMID 14709494.
  4. Jump up^ Lipman, Terri H.; Linda D. Voss (May–June 2005). “Personality Functioning: The Influence of Stature”. MCN: the American Journal of Maternal/Child NursingLippincott Williams & Wilkins30 (3): 218. doi:10.1097/00005721-200505000-00019.

Short Man Syndrome Explained

‘Short man syndrome’ is a condition in which a person has to deal with a feeling of inadequacy which can come from a lack of height – or a perceived lack of height. This is particularly common in men who gain a lot of confidence and status from physicality and who often gain pleasure from being able to feel physically imposing.

Short man syndrome is an informal term and not a medical or psychological condition and goes by other names such as ‘Napoleon complex’. Technically it is a form of inferiority complex in which the person attempts to overcompensate for their perceived shortcoming. The term is often used as a derogatory term also to describe those who are perceived as acting this way.


Short Man’s Syndrome deffinitions from urbandictionary.com

An angry male of below average height who feels it necessary to act out in an attempt to gain respect and recognition from others and compensate for his abnormally short stature. Also synonomous to little man syndrome.

by MUSOM February 22, 2005


The phenomenon of appearing overly aggressive or assertive. This may be a reaction after repeatedly suffering height discrimnation (heightism) in the workplace, in relationships with women, or elsewhere during socialisation.

by Megabone April 28, 2004


term applied to a short man whenever he is assertive or commanding. If the exact same attitude was taken by a taller man, no one would think twice.

Tall guy steps out of a new Camaro: “Hey, check out that guy with the Camaro!, that’s a sweet ride, I wonder how much he makes.”

Short guy steps out of a new Camaro: “Dude, look at that little man with the Camaro, Talk about compensation!”

Tall employer assigns difficult task: “My boss gives me hard jobs, but whatever, everyone has to work.”

Short employer assigns difficult task: “Damn, that prick loves to lord his authority over me! He has major Short Man’s Syndrome!”

by chode11 October 15, 2009


term used to dehumanize short men. On the basis of this prejudiced term, a short man isn’t allowed to do anything assertive, confident, or generally masculine without being accused of overcompensating or having short man’s syndrome.

Whereas if a taller man exhibited the same exact behavior, nobody would bat an eyelash. I rudely shoved that short guy at the bar out of my way, and he got all angry about it. Talk about short man’s syndrome!

by cosmiccountrynoir April 24, 2011


A demeaning phrases to explain the everyday behaviour or reactions of a shorter man. This circular definition is very much like the black man’s supposed “chip on the shoulder,” or a female’s “penis envy”.

It is a device to excuse discrimination by blaming the recipient of that discrimination.

– “Hey, that guy got angry when I ridiculed him for being short.”

– “He did? I guess that must be short man’s syndrome.”

by don April 30, 2004


A story made up by tall guys with small dicks who have nothing else going for them than their height. The same insecure guys will come up with stories to put down men of all shapes, sizes, looks, professions, talents, and intelligence levels in an attempt to make themselves look better, and still wonder why we women won’t go for them.

Jason: “How did that short man end up with that girl!! I have to bring it to her attention that her guy has short man’s syndrome! Also check out that fat guy with the beautiful woman; he must have fat guy’s syndrome. How about that smart guy? What a nerd! And that overly tall dude?! What a sasquatch! Don’t even get me started on redhead men!”

Jennifer: “Get a life! And grow some balls so you don’t need to put others down to feel better about yourself”

by Jenn86 May 28, 2011


  • Highly toxic degenerative complex that often affects males 5’8″ or less in stature.
  • Can have a seroiusly adverse affect on those within earshot of persons afflicted with this unfortunate condition.

Symptoms and side affects of shortmans’ syndrome can include:

  • – Snide, nasty bitchy comments and one-up-man-ship about anyone employed to work with/for the shortman
  • – Insecure behaviour, especially when others joke about small penises
  • – A fast car with a long bonnet
  • – Often seen “hanging out” at that bar, either sitting bolt upright on a bar stool or slouching in a booth, bragging loudly and buying anyone/everyone drinks and then getting really annoyed when no-one reciprocates

by Jasminenz January 06, 2008


Conclusion: Napoelon complex is a social jugement for an assertive behavior of a small male 🙂

#insecure men #clueless #little man’s syndrome #winkie #short guy #dehumanizing #height #little #man’s #napoleon #complex #tall #syndrome #twerp #big-head #workaholic #self-centered #self-deluded #ian #little #man #syndrome #lms #small man syndrome#napoleon syndrome #nashwan syndrome #short man syndrome #mini man syndrome


Deffinitions for little man syndrome

A man, small in stature, who attempts to overcome the way he believes other people perceive him (as a diminuative character) by:

  • 1) attaching himself to authority figures,
  • 2) trying to manipulate himself into positions of control,
  • 3) migrating toward positions of leadership, and
  • 4) having a fairly volatile temper.

I had a boss with little man syndrome and besides never being able to please him, he always had to prove he was better than anyone else!

by notgnostic November 08, 2006


A rare disease where someone is abnormally small and has to make up for it

by acting hard


Why are you hitting me you midget? You’ve got little man syndrome

by 9races March 27, 2016


Condition whereby undersized men compensate for their smallness by physically asserting their presence.

That Puerto Rican just freaked on me when I stepped on his puma—he’s got a badcase of little man syndrome.

by P. Chop October 15, 2003


When a man of short stature feels insecure and as a result feels the need to belittle and offend others to make himself feel proud.

When a small man (with little man syndrome) greets you with: “Oh still feeling ill? By the looks of you, its pretty obvious!” (or something similar)

by S. Ashburne February 23, 2010


When a small man feels the need to out do a normal size man in order to feel bigger then he is.

Boy Chris really has little man syndrome today. He feels he needs to drink more then everyone else.

by Blue Knight April 22, 2003


When a guy is short and has an attitude problem because he is bitter at society for looking down on short guys.

Damn, I just got rejected by the bouncer that I was a lot taller than at the bar, he must have had a bad case or little man syndrome.

by Erica April 23, 2004


person who thinks that he/she is bigger than they really are and tries to fightanyone as a result of it.

by Ian Cash December 26, 2011