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

Our rights are being stripped away little by little. Diane Guerrero, Teen Vogue, "Diane Guerrero: Why the Fourth of July Is a Time for Activism," 4 July 2018 To make, put 1/2 teaspoon of spirulina powder into a bowl and add beer little by little. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day," 12 Feb. 2019 That’s all still being worked out, little by little. Jeffrey Collins, The Seattle Times, "Storm-weary Carolinas worry Michael could hurt rebuilding," 9 Oct. 2018 Whiteside is working his way back into form little by little. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "Who is taking the big shot late? Heat prove yet again it doesn’t matter for them," 10 Jan. 2018 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

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

12 Mar 2019

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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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What made you want to look up little by little? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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