little

adjective
lit·​tle | \ ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce little (audio) \
littler\ ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər How to pronounce littler (audio) , ˈlit-​lər \ or less\ ˈles How to pronounce less (audio) \ or lesser\ ˈle-​sər How to pronounce lesser (audio) \; littlest\ ˈli-​tᵊl-​əst How to pronounce littlest (audio) , ˈlit-​ləst \ or least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce least (audio) \

Definition of little

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not big: such 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 : not much: such as
a : existing only in a small amount or to a slight degree has little money
b : short in duration : brief There is little time left.
c : existing to an appreciable though not extensive degree or amount used with a had a little money in the bank
3 : small in importance or interest : trivial a few little problems to be dealt with

little

adverb
less\ ˈles How to pronounce less (audio) \; least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce least (audio) \

Definition of little (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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

little

noun

Definition of little (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a small amount, quantity, or degree also : practically nothing little has changed
2a : a short time
b : a short distance
a little
: somewhat, rather found the play a little dull
in little
: on a small scale especially : in miniature

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Other Words from little

Adjective

littleness \ ˈli-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce littleness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for little

Adjective

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

Examples of little in a Sentence

Adjective

I have very little money, so I can't lend you any. I have less money than I did before. I got very little sleep last night. There's little hope of a rescue now. You have little choice but to pay attention. The new version bears little resemblance to the original. These programs have very little chance of succeeding. These trinkets have little or no value. We're having a little party this weekend. a little group of people

Adverb

She works very little and sleeps even less. Please speak as little as possible. We had little more than we needed. His art is little known in this country.

Noun

there's just a little of the pie left
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On display against Holy Cross will be a team that appears to have decent top-line talent but little depth. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "As New Season Kicks Off, UConn Players Say Edsall Has Them More Than Ready," 30 Aug. 2017 Those who already dislike him will find little to like in his hurricane response. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Harvey tests Trump on leadership – and on policy," 30 Aug. 2017 The residents of Arbor Terrace, a senior living facility in the now-underwater Kingwood Town Center, had little time to grab anything. Alaska Dispatch News, "Harvey again makes 2nd landfall in Louisiana, this time as a tropical storm," 30 Aug. 2017 Prior to the study, published in the health journal BMC Obesity, little research had evaluated dishes specifically designed for portion control, the university said. Staff, cleveland.com, "Comment here on cleveland.com court and crime stories for Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017," 30 Aug. 2017 Chop suey is not the only Chinese-American dish that has little connection to Chinese cuisine. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "Chop Suey: An American Classic," 29 Aug. 2017 Even as Trump’s political team seeks to distance the president from what his company is doing, Trump has done little to assist them. David A. Graham, The Atlantic, "Trump's Business Dealings Come Back to Haunt Him," 29 Aug. 2017 And there's little room for error, with Reseda playing Thursday this week against Chavez. Eric Sondheimer, latimes.com, "Excessive heat warning causes Reseda to hold 6 a.m. football practice," 29 Aug. 2017 After strapping into the game's first beta on PC, however, that two-month span began to feel a little more epic. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Waiting for Destiny 2 on PC just got harder thanks to a drool-worthy beta," 28 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

As Toyota and all the other automakers will tell you (especially in the wake of those YouTube videos of reckless showoffs trusting their Teslas a little too much), these are not self-driving technologies. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "The Road Trip Had to Get Worse Before It Could Get Better," 2 Jan. 2019 Because the suspicious timing is a little too much for me. Fox News, "Coons: Kavanaugh hearing should be paused for investigation," 27 Sep. 2018 That's because at the time, there were only two options for falsies: human hair, which gave a natural look (a little too much so for Ghalichi) or synthetic, which is the kind most people reserve for Halloween. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "How Every Celebrity in Hollywood Started Wearing Lilly Lashes," 31 July 2018 Stars of the show have been teasing new episodes of GoT weekly since the premiere, but the hype is a little more intense than usual this week with the epic clash ahead. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Game of Thrones Cast Is Getting Us So Scared for the Battle of Winterfell," 29 Apr. 2019 Advertising Tesla shares were little changed as of 2:30 p.m. Friday in New York. Dana Hull, The Seattle Times, "Tesla just made it harder to buy its cheapest $35,000 electric car," 12 Apr. 2019 Microsoft showed how the integration would work at its Build conference earlier this year, and what's rolling out today seems little changed from that demo. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Alexa and Cortana integration starts rolling out today," 15 Aug. 2018 Jenner's manicure comes a little more than a month after Ariana Grande posted a photo to her Instagram Stories of her own cow-print manicure — or at least a cow-print thumbnail. Marci Robin, Allure, "Kendall Jenner's New Manicure Makes Cow-Print Nails an Official Trend," 24 Mar. 2019 In a time when most action figures were little more than a torso and five twistable appendages, Boba Fett would come with a spring-loaded backpack that could fire a plastic missile. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Treat her to a little Self Care on Mother's Day with these relaxing bath bombs that will make her bath sooo much better. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "11 DIY Mother's Day Gifts That Will Make Her Feel All *Sparkly* Inside," 4 Apr. 2019 Like most of the novel’s cast, Burgh is a patchwork of real-life people: a pinch of Mark Rothko (alcoholism and depression), a touch of Philip Guston (early years as a muralist), perhaps a little of Sandler himself (service in World War II). Jackson Arn, WSJ, "‘Goodbye to Tenth Street’ Review: A Final Sweeping," 15 Feb. 2019 More: Things to do this week in Cincinnati: April 10-15 Food and beverage vendors will also be on-site and there will be prizes and takeaways for the littles. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Kids can drive bulldozers, dump trucks, more at hands-on Big Dig event," 10 Apr. 2018 Gorsuch’s quick confirmation in the spring of 2017, and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement a little over a year later, kept the wounds fresh. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court’s looming legitimacy crisis," 24 Sep. 2018 And for those traveling with littles, the hotel’s kids club is ready and waiting. Ariel Okin, Vogue, "8 Romantic Winter Weekend Getaways From New York City," 29 Dec. 2018 Users of these kits are paying good money simply to experience a little of the joy of cooking. Bee Wilson, WSJ, "The Surprising Rewards of Meal Kits," 30 Nov. 2018 Rub a little of the oil on the chicken breasts, sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon salt, and fit them into the pot. Leah Eskin, chicagotribune.com, "How to dry-braise chicken and banish badly poached bouncy meat," 27 June 2018 Other institutions go a little further and help place the students in jobs, Ms. McCarthy says. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "Being Smart About Work-Study at College," 7 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'little.' 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 little

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for little

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

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

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Statistics for little

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Time Traveler for little

The first known use of little was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for little

little

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of little

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: small in size
: not tall
: small in amount

little

adverb

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

: in a very small amount or degree
: hardly at all : not very much
: not very often

little

adjective
lit·​tle | \ ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce little (audio) \
littler\ ˈlit-​lər \ or less\ ˈləs \; littlest\ ˈlit-​ləst \ or least\ ˈlēst \

Kids Definition of little

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : small in size a little house
2 : small in quantity They had little food to eat.
3 : young entry 1 sense 1 little children
4 : short in duration or extent We had a little chat.
5 : small in importance It's a little problem.

little

adverb
less\ ˈles \; least\ ˈlēst \

Kids Definition of little (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a very small quantity or degree The history is little known.
little by little
: by small steps or amounts : gradually

little

noun

Kids Definition of little (Entry 3 of 3)

: a small amount or quantity She knows very little.

little

adjective
lit·​tle | \ ˈlit-ᵊl How to pronounce little (audio) \
littler\ ˈlit-​ᵊl-​ər, ˈlit-​lər How to pronounce littler (audio) \ or less\ ˈles How to pronounce less (audio) \ or lesser\ ˈles-​ər How to pronounce lesser (audio) \; littlest\ ˈlit-​ᵊl-​əst, ˈlit-​ləst How to pronounce littlest (audio) \ or least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce least (audio) \

Medical Definition of little

: not big: as
a : small in size or extent has little feet
b of a plant or animal : small in comparison with related forms used in vernacular names

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More from Merriam-Webster on little

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with little

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for little

Spanish Central: Translation of little

Nglish: Translation of little for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of little for Arabic Speakers

Comments on little

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