litter

noun
lit·ter | \ ˈli-tər \

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 \ 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

Christopher Michael Miller, 28, of the 800 block of Windstream Way, was charged Wednesday with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and dumping less than 100 pounds of litter. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Police blotter," 28 June 2018 Seal the laptop up in a bag or closable bin with a cup or so of the litter and leave it for 24 to 48 hours. Whitson Gordon, New York Times, "How to Clean Your Filthy, Disgusting Laptop," 26 June 2018 In addition to preventing people from falling onto tracks, the barriers reduce the spread of litter in the system, which can cause track fires. Paul Berger, WSJ, "MTA Postpones Platform-Safety Pilot Program," 26 June 2018 In Orange County, officials in Santa Ana, the county seat, said that the needle exchange program there led to a massive increase in the amount of needle litter in public areas. German Lopez, Vox, "Needle exchanges have been exhaustively studied — and proved to work. But stigma remains.," 22 June 2018 He was arrested at 5:50 a.m. on Monday, according to NJ.com, and has been charged with lewdness, public urination/defecation and dumping of litter. Abigail Abrams, Time, "New Jersey's Mystery High School Pooper Turns Out To Be School Superintendent," 4 May 2018 Paterson saw the condition break out amongst the lions, and adds that the affected cubs were not all from the same litter. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Exclusive: Fatal Disease Likely Found in Lion Cubs for First Time," 11 Apr. 2018 The pig, and another from the same litter that was born with two mouths, died shortly after birth, Metro reported. Fox News, "'Octo-pigs' and 'demon goats': Why are mutant animals being born in Argentina?," 12 Mar. 2018 Fertiliser run-off alone causes $200bn-800bn worth of damage to the ocean, compared with $13bn from plastic marine litter. The Economist, "Plastic surgeryDon’t bin plastic. To solve the polymer problem look East," 1 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Look at it his way in July: More motivation for the Dolphins in an off-season littered with such, from oddsmakers expectations to low Madden video ratings. 2. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde5: More, uh, motivation as Dolphins RBs, WRs, rated 31st," 12 July 2018 Zinedine Zidane Draws the Curtains on a Glittering Career in Crazy Fashion An absolutely phenomenal career littered with silverware came to an unromantic and abrupt end in the 2006 World Cup final. SI.com, "7 of the Craziest Moments in World Cup History," 3 July 2018 Police found him in an apartment littered with guns, and he was transported to Grady. Christian Boone, ajc, "Vigil shootout leaves Thomasville Heights feeling under siege," 14 June 2018 But ownership placed on blockchain, or digital ledgers that keep track of every transaction, will enable easy transfer of ownership, and of tracking blue-chip pieces on a market often littered with replicas. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "How Much Bitcoin Would You Spend on a Warhol?," 13 June 2018 People continue to cross the grassy area, littered with debris. David Montero, latimes.com, "500 recordings of 911 calls detail chaos, agony and determination after Las Vegas shooting," 7 June 2018 The whale died Friday after a five-day fight, the country’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said, becoming the latest high-profile incident of marine life forced to live in oceans littered with human trash. Alex Horton, BostonGlobe.com, "No one could save a pilot whale that swallowed 17 pounds of plastic bags off Thailand," 3 June 2018 Twenty-three of Morton's 66 strikes were swung upon and missed, another career high on an evening littered with them. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Charlie Morton's career night carries Astros past Rangers," 12 May 2018 The text of the proposal is littered with random capitalization, because some things are too important to lowercase. Lizzie Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "Regret haunts Wine Country fire hero: ‘I’ve never cried this much’," 13 July 2018

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

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

Verb

see litter entry 1

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Statistics for litter

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for litter

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

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More Definitions for litter

litter

noun

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 \

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 \

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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