little

adjective
lit·​tle | \ ˈli-tᵊl How to pronounce little (audio) \
littler\ ˈli-​tᵊl-​ər How to pronounce little (audio) , ˈlit-​lər \ or less\ ˈles How to pronounce little (audio) \ or lesser\ ˈle-​sər How to pronounce little (audio) \; littlest\ ˈli-​tᵊl-​əst How to pronounce little (audio) , ˈlit-​ləst \ or least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce little (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 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 How to pronounce little (audio) \; least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce little (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
plural littles

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
3 : a young child : little one How you introduce your littles to the trail helps determine what they think of hiking as they grow.Backpacker … Beyoncé and JAY-Z don't post many photos of their littlest littles.— Azure Hall As a mom determined to nurse each of her littles, I've tucked myself away in airplane bathrooms dozens of times to pump ounces of milk.— Kourtney Gibson
a little
: somewhat, rather found the play a little dull
in little
: on a small scale especially : in miniature

Other Words from little

Adjective

littleness \ ˈli-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce little (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While Higgins' arrival in the Villa initially posed a threat to Hague and Fury's coupling, the two made it through the entire season together with little other drama. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 25 Sep. 2022 But then Tagovailoa and the Dolphins went three-and-out, leaving Morstead with little room to kick the ball away. Alanis Thames, ajc, 25 Sep. 2022 In addition, with very little industry in the area, 90% of the district’s property tax revenue is derived from residential homeowners, with just 10% of its budget coming from state and federal funding. Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, 25 Sep. 2022 Faced with a last-gasp fourth down to keep USC’s final scoring drive alive, Williams would need a little push. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2022 On hot days, some over 100 degrees, workers spend hours harvesting fruits and vegetables for very little money -- produce that ends up on kitchen tables of people across the country. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 25 Sep. 2022 Perhaps the most immediate concern, though, is how little looked different against Minnesota from the 503 yards MSU gave up a week earlier at Washington. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 25 Sep. 2022 During the game however, things got a little testy. Kyle Brown, The Enquirer, 25 Sep. 2022 And the start of the school year in September brought little respite: Just over half of schools reopened for in-person learning. Heidi Levine, Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Keeping up with Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kris, Kendall, and Kylie got a little more challenging when the Kardashians’ first reality show ended its 20-season run last summer. Rs Editors, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2022 Richison says the night is little more than a blur 10 years later. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Sep. 2022 This setup reportedly gives you a little more stability. Dana Givens, Robb Report, 19 Sep. 2022 Composers were little more than domestic servants, though some became quite famous in their time. Liza Foreman, Variety, 18 Sep. 2022 This was a wild era when, for many, China’s commodity markets were little more than a casino. Jack Farchy, Fortune, 18 Sep. 2022 Finish it with a little more condensed milk for a dish that melds the extra sweet with a more savory, eggy brioche. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Sep. 2022 Last week, benchmark scores from Geekbench seemed to indicate that the A16 was little more than a modest upgrade. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 13 Sep. 2022 But for many among the Indian public, her death is little more than a distant foreign news story -- highlighting just how deeply Britain's relationship with India, once the jewel in the Empire, has changed over the past 70 years. Nikhil Kumar, CNN, 11 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ladle a little of the squash and sauce mix, followed by three sheets to cover the sauce. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, 27 Sep. 2022 Be careful to not overuse products, especially on the the first day, and remember a little can go a long way. Cristina Montemayor, Men's Health, 25 Aug. 2022 Before joining The Chronicle, Erin worked at newspapers all over the Bay Area and covered a little of everything, including business and technology, city government, and education. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 July 2022 For those willing to sacrifice a little of the Taycan's dynamic fidelity for greater versatility, or who are simply taken by the wagon's longroof proportions, the Cross Turismo 4S occupies a compelling spot in Porsche's EV lineup. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 7 July 2022 Before joining The Chronicle, Erin worked at newspapers all over the Bay Area and covered a little of everything, including business and technology, city government, and education. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 July 2022 Mix a few of these together to create a combination tailored to your taste—or put a little of each in a small bowl. Magdalena O'neal, Sunset Magazine, 10 Mar. 2022 Before joining The Chronicle, Erin worked at newspapers all over the Bay Area and covered a little of everything, including business and technology, city government, and education. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 June 2022 Melton was a four-star recruit with an offer from Ohio State who chose to stay home and do a little of everything for a rebuilding Rutgers program, as a receiver, runner and kick returner. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About little

Time Traveler for little

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near little

litting

little

little anteater

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for little

Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Little.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/little. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for little

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 little (audio) \ or less\ ˈles How to pronounce little (audio) \ or lesser\ ˈles-​ər How to pronounce little (audio) \; littlest\ ˈlit-​ᵊl-​əst, ˈlit-​ləst How to pronounce little (audio) \ or least\ ˈlēst How to pronounce little (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

More from Merriam-Webster on little

Nglish: Translation of little for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of little for Arabic Speakers

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