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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When cities lose their operating budget, that means their garbage doesn't get picked up; that means potholes don't get fixed; that means the grass in your city doesn't get cut; the litter doesn't get pick up. Aaron Navarro And Grace Segers, CBS News, "Coronavirus has governors predicting big cuts in bid to balance their budgets," 24 Apr. 2020 The same courtesy applies to using a leaf blower – blow away from your neighbor’s property and bag up the litter. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "6 Rules of Yard Etiquette That Southern Neighbors Always Appreciate," 17 Apr. 2020 Not only does the increase in litter raise environmental concerns, but health concerns as well. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "Drop your coronavirus personal protective wear in the parking lot? It could cost you $225," 8 Apr. 2020 Bourbon, for instance, comes from a top-shelf litter. Jake Seiner, Anchorage Daily News, "Happy meal: Poodle stops for fast food, wins at Westminster," 11 Feb. 2020 Did that one tiny kitten in the litter really speak to your heart? Ann Norman, cleveland, "We want to meet your pets! Send us your stories," 31 Jan. 2020 In August, the dogs, four of which came from the same litter, were born. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Puppies to the Rescue! Beijing Police Force Welcomes 6 Adorable Canine Clone Recruits," 21 Nov. 2019 Many butterfly and moth species take shelter over the winter as pupae in leaf litter — so clearing out all the leaves will clear them out, too. Molly Guthrey, Twin Cities, "Read this before finishing that fall yard cleanup," 8 Nov. 2019 To reinforce the Vegas vibe, black and white photos of The Rat Pack litter the walls, along with portraits of showgirls in various states of dress. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "The Whale restaurant brings downtown luxury to Logan Square. But the food is dreadful.," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This didn’t help at all – and the next call was again littered with complaints. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Mother-in-law can’t get a word in edgewise," 12 May 2020 The ground was littered with loose stems, leaves and flowers that didn’t make the cut. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "A Flower Shop Reinvented to Reopen," 12 May 2020 The depths of the Great Lakes are littered with the sodden remains of an estimated 6,000 sunken ships. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "High Waters in the Great Lakes Reveal Two Centuries-Old Shipwrecks," 30 Apr. 2020 The tide line was littered with plastic bottles, tampon applicators, pieces of accordion pipe, plastic cups. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Telfar Clemens’s Mass Appeal," 9 Mar. 2020 Woods did claw back a couple of birdies early on his second nine, but his scorecard was littered with errors, most of them on the greens. Eamon Lynch, Golfweek, "Lynch: Attention turns to Tiger Woods' plans before Masters after Genesis meltdown," 15 Feb. 2020 Her Twitter and Instagram pages are littered with posts or retweets of affirming messages. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Who Is Moon Angell? What We Know About Dog the Bounty Hunter's Rumored Girlfriend," 3 Feb. 2020 The song’s comments on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are littered with touching and personal stories about love and loss. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Dance Songs of 2019: Staff List," 20 Dec. 2019 Horizon was created in 1968 by the Bureau of Land Management to front an anti-littering campaign. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day," 22 Apr. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for litter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for litter

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Litter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/litter. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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

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Comments on litter

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