little by little


Definition of little by little 

: by small degrees or amounts : gradually

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Synonyms & Antonyms for little by little


gradationally, gradually, inchmeal, piece by piece, piecemeal


abruptly, suddenly

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Examples of little by little in a Sentence

little by little, we pieced together the jigsaw puzzle

Recent Examples on the Web

But little by little, the voyage reveals itself to be plucking at unexamined emotional bonds between the two. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Ralph Breaks the Internet is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but for the internet," 21 Nov. 2018 With her faithful and feisty friend-slash-manager (Alex Borstein, also an Emmy winner) by her side, little by little Midge begins to turn comedy clubs in her favor. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Is Back With a New Full-Length Season 2 Trailer," 24 Oct. 2018 All the doctors could tell us was that little by little, my father would likely lose his mobility, his ability to speak, and, eventually, his life. Beth Dreher, Woman's Day, "When a Mystery Illness Left My Father Immobile, Tibetan Caregivers Helped Him Find Peace," 15 Aug. 2017 But little by little, win by win, Thomas and the Lakers are earning the kind of respect that has been in short supply during these past few torturous seasons. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Resilient Isaiah Thomas on Lakers role: 'I'm not no sixth man'," 15 Mar. 2018 The big issue here — just like the last bug the company announced which changed the privacy settings for millions of users without their permission — is that, little by little, Facebook keeps eroding user trust. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook’s year of privacy mishaps continues — this time with a new software bug that ‘unblocked’ people," 2 July 2018 But little by little, after the trainings and many one-on-one sessions with Aunt Pat, Blackie became a believer. Juliana Feliciano Reyes,, "Why a crew of tough roofers is talking about feelings and doing breathing exercises," 19 June 2018 The changes have come, little by little, day by day. Marian Kim-phelps, Pomerado News, "A day in the life of a school superintendent," 12 Apr. 2018 But little by little, other female athletes around the world have started finding their voices, too. Andrew Das, New York Times, "In Fight for Equality, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Leads the Way," 4 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for little by little

The first known use of little by little was in the 15th century

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