little by little


: by small degrees or amounts : gradually

Examples of little by little in a Sentence

little by little, we pieced together the jigsaw puzzle
Recent Examples on the Web Starting now, the scales will begin to balance out little by little. Joe Reid, Vulture, 29 Nov. 2023 Wang’s testimony revealed how the fraud got bigger, little by little. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 26 Oct. 2023 Eventually, little by little—or as the Italians would say, piano, piano—Martin surrendered to the nature of her surroundings. Laura Neilson, Vogue, 17 Oct. 2023 Disney has increased tickets costs little by little every year since its inception, except for during the pandemic, one expert said. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 11 Oct. 2023 Finally, they'll be exposed little by little to their fear. Marisa Cohen, Parents, 18 Sep. 2023 Forget the Renaissance visuals—Beyoncé's focus seems to be on building her beauty empire little by little. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 19 July 2023 He’s remodeled the shop throughout the decades, adding on little by little. Shauna Stuart |, al, 1 Sep. 2023 The song changed, little by little, with each suggestion, remaking the song in real time. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'little by little.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near little by little

Cite this Entry

“Little by little.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

little by little

: by small steps or amounts : gradually
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!