little

adjective
lit·​tle | \ˈli-tᵊl \
littler\ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər, ˈlit-​lər \ or less\ˈles \ or lesser\ˈle-​sər \; littlest\ˈli-​tᵊl-​əst, ˈlit-​ləst \ or least\ˈlēst \

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 \; least\ˈlēst \

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 \ 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

This, needless to say, made the game a little more interesting. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Kendall Jenner Straight-Up Booed Tristan Thompson at His Basketball Game," 24 Nov. 2018 This landing will come about eight minutes after liftoff, and the satellite is scheduled to be deployed into its transfer orbit a little more than 32 minutes into the flight. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX ties its record for most launches in a year [Updated]," 15 Nov. 2018 In reasonable fear interviews, a little more than 25 percent do. Dara Lind, Vox, "The asylum ban — Trump’s boldest immigration power grab yet — explained," 12 Nov. 2018 Chief Executive Reed Hastings asked his longtime chief product officer, Neil Hunt, to step down last year, installing in his place Greg Peters, an executive who had a little more background in the content business. Joe Flint, WSJ, "At Netflix, Who Wins When It’s Hollywood vs. the Algorithm?," 10 Nov. 2018 This time around, with the development of some of the last remaining open parcels in Kendall Square, development is a little more subdued. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As top innovation hub expands, can straining local infrastructure keep pace?," 6 Nov. 2018 The story with specs gets a little complicated because the story with Intel processors is a little complicated. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Apple MacBook Air (2018) review: the present of computing," 6 Nov. 2018 Strike the right balance by pairing your cutest jeans with an off-the-shoulder tee or a strappy tank—something that's a little more fun than you're go to school look. Seventeen, "7 Tips to Rock Your First Date!," 30 Oct. 2018 As for Kate Middleton and Prince William, the answer is a little more vague. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry Missed Prince Charles' Birthday Gala," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Big Sean's next homecoming appearance will have to wait a little while yet. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Big Sean postpones tour, including Little Caesars Arena show," 26 Feb. 2018 Younger guys have a little of an urgency to make a bigger impression. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Competition spots begin as Astros open spring training games," 23 Feb. 2018 The hybrid side of the powertrain remains the same, but the gasoline engine has been persuaded to give a little more power (328hp, so 415hp total) and torque (317ft-lbs, 494ft-lbs total). Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2019 Volvo S60 is Swedish style at a surprisingly good price," 16 Oct. 2018 But if Kavanaugh is defeated, or Trump’s mocking of Ford is prominently and roundly condemned, perhaps a little of this harm can be rolled back. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump, and the chilling power of sexual violence," 3 Oct. 2018 Spieth showed a little of his magic himself that day. Washington Post, "Woods makes his Tampa Bay debut at Valspar Championship," 8 Mar. 2018 Battered behind bad offensive lines in New England and San Francisco, Plunkett spent his first 33 games in Oakland as a little used backup. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Super Bowl history game-by-game, from Packers to Patriots | Miami Herald," 30 Jan. 2018 According to the employee, its staff is overworked and a little stressed out by the 12-hour shifts and the considerable responsibilities. BostonGlobe.com, "A migrant child’s days in detention included cleaning toilets," 14 July 2018 Our entire mission is about adding a little more heart to life. Taylor Seely, USA TODAY, "Build-a-Bear CEO apologizes for 'Pay Your Age' sale fail," 13 July 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

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

Adverb

see little entry 1

Noun

see little entry 1

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Statistics for little

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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 \
littler\ˈlit-​ᵊl-​ər, ˈlit-​lər \ or less\ˈles \ or lesser\ˈles-​ər \; littlest\ˈlit-​ᵊl-​əst, ˈlit-​ləst \ or least\ˈlēst \

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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