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

There were eight points early from Vaughn, and then little more, somewhat similar to the career arc of the former University of Nevada Las Vegas wing. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Rashad Vaughn career at a crossroad, as Heat summer play comes to an end," 15 July 2018 The typical daypack conversion is little more than a flimsy shopping bag that feels bouncy and awkward throughout your summit bid. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 Of England’s starters, only Jordan Henderson had played in the biggest game in club soccer, and that was only a little more than a month ago. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 That Borrego wants to play more up-tempo might help Kidd-Gilchrist score a little more. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Your Charlotte Hornets questions on salary cap, Cody Zeller, Tony Parker and more," 12 July 2018 Then, a little more than a year ago, while looking for new @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y content, Rakowski found an online archive of personal ads from On Our Backs, a lesbian erotica magazine that ran from the 1980s to the mid-2000s. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Could a Text-Based Dating App Change Selfie-Swiping Culture?," 10 July 2018 Even though Weltman has only been on the job a little more than a year and has had nothing to do with the Magic’s failed rebuild over the previous six seasons, he is still saddled with the mistakes of the past. Mike Bianchi, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando Magic had no choice but to sign Aaron Gordon in wake of Victor Oladipo blunder," 2 July 2018 To make all of this a little more natural, Amazon is launching a docking station for both devices. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Amazon is turning its Fire tablets into portable Echo Shows," 28 June 2018 After a little more than an hour, nature, 30 years later, finally took its course. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: The Tin Man meets The Spirit in the Sky," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Ideally, this spot would feature a player with a little more D to go with his 3. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Sixers NBA free agency primer: Targets, budget, depth chart | David Murphy," 30 June 2018 The children were shackled as punishment, denied food and toys and allowed to do little except write in journals, prosecutors have said. Amy Taxin And Michael Balsamo, Fox News, "Hearing set for California parents accused of shackling kids," 20 June 2018 The cafe itself is on the first floor of Lumberyard 1505, a retail-and-residential building; garage doors open on fair-weather days to bring a little of the outdoors in. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018 Investigators say the children were locked up as punishment, denied food and toys and allowed to do little except write in journals, prosecutors said. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "In 911 call after escape, Turpin sibling describes horrific abuse, being "chained up"," 20 June 2018 People close to the museum and to Ms. Wintour have been a little surprised that requests made of the Schwarzmans occasionally get turned down. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, "The Man Who Bought New York," 5 May 2018 He was assisted by Alexander Weiss, a serious reverse image of Mr. Sagar, who thought little of commuting between his home in Germany and Johannesburg. New York Times, "How McKinsey Lost Its Way in South Africa," 26 June 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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Comments on little

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