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 intensivewhy, 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 ahad 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 Conventional wisdom has it that the Democratic primary is little more than a battle between moderates and progressives. Rahm Emanuel, WSJ, "Bernie Sanders, Insider," 21 Feb. 2020 The game got a little more heated in the second half. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons destroyed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, 126-106," 21 Feb. 2020 As the Bucks returned to action Thursday following the all-star break, though, those five members of the Detroit Pistons were little more than cannon fodder in the way of yet another one-sided Bucks barrage. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 126, Pistons 106: Coming out of the break with a nice thumping," 20 Feb. 2020 The scale of the project has little in the way of precedent, Raynor explained. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Bodies Buried Beneath Boris Johnson’s New Railway," 16 Feb. 2020 Couples like Justin and Hailey Bieber got sentimental about their love, while others (ahem Gigi and Zayn) used the Hallmark holiday to make things a little more IG official. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Best Celebrity Valentine's Day 2020 Instagrams," 15 Feb. 2020 Keeping plants in your home requires a little more care than just watering, misting, and occasional fertilizing. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "How to Repot a Plant in 10 Minutes Flat," 14 Feb. 2020 This offseason, the powers that be constructed a roster which looks to be a little more competitive. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "How many games will the Miami Marlins win in 2020?," 13 Feb. 2020 The look somehow fixes any bad hair day and makes every outfit a little more pulled together. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "I Can’t Stop Wearing Claw Clips," 12 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His stepdaughter, Brenda Warburton, said Eaton got a little choked up on seeing the plaque, noting that’s unusual for him. USA TODAY, "Guitar hotel, creepy dolls, slime museum: News from around our 50 states," 25 Oct. 2019 My best days with the littles were spent accepting the moment, and the worst were spent waiting/hoping for something to get better. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Tell a tardy spouse to go ahead and have fun, but it’s your turn next," 19 Jan. 2020 Then pantomime moving and swinging this object a little more slowly, with more intention. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Boneworks review: An absolute VR mess—yet somehow momentous," 12 Dec. 2019 For some reason, with Bournemouth under pressure at the back, Rico decided to try a little flicked pass which ended up nowhere near any of his teammates. SI.com, "7 of the Best Moments From Another Fantastic Weekend of Premier League Action," 28 Oct. 2019 After a spending a little over a year in the Indians farm system, Coffey saw the writing on the wall. Phillip Morris, cleveland, "Vietnam eclipsed Indians draft pick Ollie Coffey’s field of dreams: Phillip Morris," 27 Oct. 2019 There is admittedly more than a little of melodrama in holding so somber an event to set the non-existent hands on a non-existent clock . Time, "The End Is Nigh: Doomsday Clock Reaches 100 Seconds to Midnight," 23 Jan. 2020 If the fans had any faith remaining before this game, there’s little of it left now. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas squanders lead against Oklahoma, falls into 0-2 hole in Big 12," 8 Jan. 2020 Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes After Netflix’s huge show at the Golden Globes, the streamer got a little humbled by SAG, not least becauseThe Two Popes was totally blanked. David Canfield, EW.com, "The biggest film surprises and snubs from the 2020 SAG Awards nominations," 11 Dec. 2019

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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Learn More about little

Time Traveler for little

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for little

Cite this Entry

“Little.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/little. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for little

little

adjective
How to pronounce little (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for little

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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