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adjective, lit·tle \ˈli-təl\

Simple Definition of little

  • : small in size

  • : not tall

  • : small in amount

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of little

littler play \ˈli-təl-ər, ˈlit-lər\ or less play \ˈles\ or lesser play \ˈle-sər\ littlest play \ˈli-təl-əst, ˈlit-ləst\ or least play \ˈlēst\

  1. 1 :  not big: as a :  small in size or extent :  tiny <has little feet> b :  young <was too little to remember> c of a plant or animal :  small in comparison with related forms —used in vernacular names d :  having few members or inhabitants <a little group> <little towns> e :  small in condition, distinction, or scope <big business trampling on the little fellow> f :  narrow, mean <the pettiness of little minds> g :  pleasingly small <a cute little thing> h —used as an intensive <why, you little devil!>

  2. 2 :  not much: as a :  existing only in a small amount or to a slight degree <has little money> b :  short in duration :  brief c :  existing to an appreciable though not extensive degree or amount —used with a <had a little money in the bank>

  3. 3 :  small in importance or interest :  trivial

littleness play \ˈli-təl-nəs\ noun

Examples of little in a sentence

  1. I have very little money, so I can't lend you any.

  2. I have less money than I did before.

  3. I got very little sleep last night.

  4. There's little hope of a rescue now.

  5. You have little choice but to pay attention.

  6. The new version bears little resemblance to the original.

  7. These programs have very little chance of succeeding.

  8. These trinkets have little or no value.

  9. We're having a little party this weekend.

  10. a little group of people

Origin of little

Middle English littel, from Old English lȳtel; akin to Old High German luzzil little

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of little

small, little, diminutive, minute, tiny, miniature mean noticeably below average in size. small and little are often interchangeable, but small applies more to relative size determined by capacity, value, number <a relatively small backyard>. little is more absolute in implication often carrying the idea of petiteness, pettiness, insignificance, or immaturity <your pathetic little smile>. diminutive implies abnormal smallness <diminutive bonsai plants>. minute implies extreme smallness <a minute amount of caffeine in the soda>. tiny is an informal equivalent to minute <tiny cracks formed in the painting>. miniature applies to an exactly proportioned reproduction on a very small scale <a dollhouse with miniature furnishings>.



adverb, lit·tle

Simple Definition of little

  • : in a very small amount or degree

  • : hardly at all : not very much

  • : not very often

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of little

lessplay play \ˈles\ leastplay play \ˈlēst\

  1. 1 a :  in only a small quantity or degree :  slightly <facts that were little known at the time> b :  not at all <cared little for their neighbors>

  2. 2 :  rarely, infrequently

Examples of little in a sentence

  1. She works very little and sleeps even less.

  2. Please speak as little as possible.

  3. We had little more than we needed.

  4. His art is little known in this country.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of little

before 12th century



noun lit·tle

Definition of little

  1. 1 :  a small amount, quantity, or degree; also :  practically nothing <little has changed>

  2. 2 a :  a short time b :  a short distance

a little
  1. :  somewhat, rather <found the play a little dull>

in little
  1. :  on a small scale; especially :  in miniature

LITTLE Defined for Kids



adjective lit·tle \ˈli-təl\

Definition of little for Students

littler \ˈlit-lər\ or less \ˈləs\littlest \ˈlit-ləst\ or least \ˈlēst\

  1. 1 :  small in size <a little house>

  2. 2 :  small in quantity <They had little food to eat.>

  3. 3 :  1young 1 <little children>

  4. 4 :  short in duration or extent <We had a little chat.>

  5. 5 :  small in importance <It's a little problem.>

  6. 6 :  1narrow 3



adverb lit·tle

Definition of little for Students

less \ˈles\least \ˈlēst\

  1. :  in a very small quantity or degree <The history is little known.>

little by little
  1. :  by small steps or amounts :  gradually



noun lit·tle

Definition of little for Students

  1. :  a small amount or quantity <She knows very little.>

Medical Dictionary


adjective lit·tle \ˈlit-əl\

Medical Definition of little

littler \ˈlit-əl-ər, ˈlit-lər\play or less \ˈles\play or lesser \ˈles-ər\play ; littlest \ˈlit-əl-əst, ˈlit-ləst\play or least \ˈlēst\play

  1. :  not big: asa:  small in size or extent <has little feet>bof a plant or animal :  small in comparison with related forms—used in vernacular names

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up little? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by grandiloquent style

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