litter

noun
lit·​ter | \ ˈli-tər How to pronounce litter (audio) \

Definition of litter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a covered and curtained couch provided with shafts and used for carrying a single passenger a litter carried on the shoulders of four men— Edwin Tunis
b : a device (such as a stretcher) for carrying a sick or injured person The wounded soldier was carried to the rear by litter.
2a(1) : material used as bedding for animals Fibrous peat was used as litter for livestock.
(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
4a : 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

litter

verb
littered; littering; litters

Definition of litter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

2 : to give birth to a litter of (young)
3a : 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

Illustration of litter

Illustration of litter

Noun

litter 1a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from litter

Noun

littery \ ˈli-​tə-​rē How to pronounce littery (audio) \ adjective

Examples of litter in a Sentence

Noun We decided to pick up the litter in the park. Her desk was covered with a litter of legal documents. Verb Paper and popcorn littered the streets after the parade. a desk littered with old letters and bills It is illegal to litter. He had to pay a fine for littering.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Additionally, rabbits have very sensitive feet and need a flat surface on the bottom of their hutches and can also be litter box trained! The Arizona Republic, "Winston and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 12 Sep. 2020 They will be required to perform a variety of tasks which may include the use of hand tools, power equipment, such as string trimmers, leaf blowers and mowers, picking up litter and assisting in athletic field maintenance. courant.com, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 10 Sep. 2020 One sift through a litter box can reveal multitudes of issues. Candice Wang, Popular Science, "Toilet training your cat isn’t as great as it sounds," 27 Aug. 2020 The Lassen Pack, which has staked out territory in western Lassen and in the northernmost portion of Plumas county, has produced puppies every year since 2017, but this year’s litter was fathered by a different wolf. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "California’s wolf pack is thriving with eight new pups," 6 Aug. 2020 The soil on the rubbish varied depending on where it was thrown out: Cesspits left traces of organic soil, while litter dumped in the street or piled up outside of the city’s walls was covered in sandy deposits. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Analysis of Pompeii’s Garbage Suggests the Ancient Romans Recycled, Too," 27 Apr. 2020 The dogs, making their return to the zoo after a three-year absence, are part of a litter of 11 pups that were born in Michigan on Nov. 30, 2018. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "African Painted Dogs return to Houston Zoo," 28 Aug. 2020 Many of the dogs were pregnant, or had a recent litter of puppies. Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press, "134 puppies, dogs seized in Upper Peninsula puppy mill bust," 26 Aug. 2020 Raccoons typically have a litter of two to five kits. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Fun facts about raccoons, the masked bandits that steal hearts as well as garbage around San Antonio," 25 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Shell casings litter the parking lot outside Breonna Taylor's apartment in crime scene photos taken by Louisville police in the hours after three officers fatally shot her March 13. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, "Breonna Taylor shooting: New crime scene photos reveal dozens of police shell casings," 4 Sep. 2020 This witty Austen-esque romp, which is soon to be a motion picture, is a sparkling twist on the Regency-era ballroom scenes and misunderstandings that litter historical romance. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: August romances raise the stakes and the temperature," 24 Aug. 2020 Right, abandoned Hindu offerings litter the Sahu River in West Bengal. John Stanmeyer, National Geographic, "When the drinking water disappears," 17 July 2020 Ivan Thierry, 62, a local fisherman who catches sea bass around the wrecks that still litter the seabed nearby, was holding an American flag in tribute even before dawn. Raf Casert, Anchorage Daily News, "The loneliest of D-Day remembrances is hit by pandemic," 6 June 2020 Ivan Thierry, 62, a local fisherman who catches sea bass around the wrecks that still litter the seabed nearby, was holding an American flag in tribute even before dawn. Time, "'Because of the Virus, Nobody Can Be Here.' Few Attend D-Day Remembrances, 76 Years After the Epic World War II Battle," 6 June 2020 Don't litter—when you're done with your sign, dispose of it properly, or donate it to another protester. Louryn Strampe, Wired, "How to Protest Safely: What to Bring, What to Do, and What to Avoid," 2 June 2020 Specific spots on the island like Axel’s go-to, include a watch tower called Torre d’en Rovira in Saint Josep de sa Talaia and Marina Ibiza which is littered with ritzy restaurants and private yachts. Gina Vaynshteyn, refinery29.com, "Netflix’s White Lines Is Basically The Only Way To Take An International Holiday Right Now," 24 May 2020 Critics say the analysis the Transportation Department and the EPA produced for its proposal in 2018 was littered with errors that skewed the numbers in favor of relaxing the targets. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Final rule to overhaul Obama fuel economy standards leaves major question lingering," 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'litter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of litter

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for litter

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French litere, from lit bed, from Latin lectus — more at lie

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about litter

Time Traveler for litter

Time Traveler

The first known use of litter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for litter

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Litter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/litter. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for litter

litter

noun
How to pronounce litter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of litter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

litter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of litter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover (a surface) with many things in an untidy way
: to throw or leave trash on the ground in a public place

litter

noun
lit·​ter | \ ˈli-tər How to pronounce litter (audio) \

Kids Definition of litter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

litter

verb
littered; littering

Kids Definition of litter (Entry 2 of 2)

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

litter

noun
lit·​ter | \ ˈlit-ər How to pronounce litter (audio) \

Medical Definition of litter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device (as a stretcher) for carrying a sick or injured person
2 : the offspring at one birth of a multiparous animal

Medical Definition of litter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give birth to a litter of (young)

intransitive verb

: to give birth to a litter

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on litter

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!