Dictionary

1litter

noun lit·ter \ˈli-tər\

: things that have been thrown away and that are lying on the ground in a public place

: a messy pile or group of things

: dry material that is spread in a container and used as a toilet by animals (especially cats) while they are indoors

Full Definition of LITTER

1
a :  a covered and curtained couch provided with shafts and used for carrying a single passenger
b :  a device (as a stretcher) for carrying a sick or injured person
2
a (1) :  material used as bedding for animals (2) :  material used to absorb the urine and feces of animals
b :  the uppermost slightly decayed layer of organic matter on the forest floor
3
:  the offspring at one birth of a multiparous animal <a litter of puppies>
4
a :  trash, wastepaper, or garbage lying scattered about <trying to clean up the roadside litter>
b :  an untidy accumulation of objects <a shabby writing-desk covered with a litter of yellowish dusty documents — Joseph Conrad>
lit·tery \-tə-rē\ adjective
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Examples of LITTER

  1. We decided to pick up the litter in the park.
  2. Her desk was covered with a litter of legal documents.

Illustration of LITTER

Origin of LITTER

Middle English, from Anglo-French litere, from lit bed, from Latin lectus — more at lie
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Vehicles Terms

brougham, hansom, shay, skid, sledge, sulky, wain

2litter

verb

: to cover (a surface) with many things in an untidy way

: to throw or leave trash on the ground in a public place

Full Definition of LITTER

transitive verb
1
:  bed 1a
2
:  to give birth to a litter of (young)
3
a :  to strew with scattered articles
b :  to scatter about in disorder
c :  to lie about in disorder <their upside-down hats littered the top of the bar — Michael Chabon>
d :  to mark with objects scattered at random <a book littered with misprints>
intransitive verb
1
:  to give birth to a litter
2
:  to strew litter

Examples of LITTER

  1. Paper and popcorn littered the streets after the parade.
  2. a desk littered with old letters and bills
  3. It is illegal to litter.
  4. He had to pay a fine for littering.

First Known Use of LITTER

14th century
LITTER[1] Defined for Kids

1litter

noun lit·ter \ˈli-tər\

Definition of LITTER for Kids

1
:  the young born to an animal at a single time <a litter of pigs>
2
:  a messy collection of things scattered about :  trash <We picked up the litter in our neighborhood.>
3
:  material used to soak up the urine and feces of animals
4
:  a covered and curtained couch having poles and used for carrying a single passenger
5
:  a stretcher for carrying a sick or wounded person

Word History of LITTER

The different meanings of the word litter all grew out of the basic notion bed. In Old French, litiere, a derivative of lit, bed, could refer to a sleeping place in a general way, but it was more typically applied to either a curtained portable couch, or to straw spread on the ground as a sleeping place for animals. In borrowing the word, English kept both usages and added new ones. The bedding for animals sense was extended to the offspring of an animal such as a dog. In a different direction, litter became not just straw for animal bedding, but straw or similar material spread around for any purpose, and by the 1700s any odds and ends of rubbish lying scattered about.

2litter

verb
lit·teredlit·ter·ing

Definition of LITTER for Kids

1
:  to throw or leave trash on the ground
2
:  to cover in an untidy way <Leaves littered the yard.>

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