small

adjective
\ ˈsmȯl How to pronounce small (audio) \

Definition of small

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having comparatively little size or slight dimensions
b : lowercase
2a : minor in influence, power, or rank
b : operating on a limited scale
3 : lacking in strength a small voice
4a : little or close to zero in an objectively measurable aspect (such as quantity)
b : made up of few or little units
5a : of little consequence : trivial
b : humble, modest
6 : limited in degree
7a : mean, petty
b : reduced to a humiliating position

small

adverb

Definition of small (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : in or into small pieces
2 : without force or loudness speak as small as you will— William Shakespeare
3 : in a small manner

small

noun

Definition of small (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a part smaller and especially narrower than the remainder the small of the back
2a smalls plural : small-sized products
b smalls plural, chiefly British : smallclothes especially : underwear

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Other Words from small

Adjective

smallish \ ˈsmȯ-​lish How to pronounce smallish (audio) \ adjective
smallness \ ˈsmȯl-​nəs How to pronounce smallness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for small

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 small in a Sentence

Adjective

They live in a small house. a small glass of soda She moved to a smaller town. The toy is small enough to fit in my pocket. This room is a little smaller than that one. The movie was a small success. There are still a few small details we have to deal with. It's only a small mistake. The change had only a small impact on the community.

Noun

These shirts are all smalls. “What size ice-cream cones do you want?” “We'll take three larges and a small.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The changes were small, sometimes moving a standard from one grade to the next and, in some cases, making no changes at all. al, "More answers to your questions about education in Alabama," 14 Aug. 2019 The subgroup will have seven members — two representatives each from small, medium and large districts, and the state superintendent or her designee. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The only school board member who opposed dissolving the Palmyra-Eagle district has resigned," 13 Aug. 2019 With a box of toys, that apple juice and several menu items uncomplicated by chile oil, Old Kan pleases the smallest (and toughest) of customers without coming off like an indie Chuck E. Cheese. Andrew Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Kid-friendly taprooms booming in the East Bay. Is that a good thing?," 13 Aug. 2019 In a small, dry skillet, cook the pecans over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Chris Ross, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Blueberry crumble is tasty gluten-free dessert," 13 Aug. 2019 Castro targets Trump's vacation in Bedminster with small, Fox News ad buy about El Paso shooting DES MOINES, IOWA — Former Housing Sec. NBC News, "Kamala Harris scores endorsement from Iowa's Asian-Latino Coalition," 13 Aug. 2019 Some people do tell her that Greenville is too small, too isolated from big-city attractions — a minor island of urbanity in a sea of farms and fields. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "After El Paso, the ‘send her back’ chant echoes to some as a prelude to murder," 13 Aug. 2019 The small, often brief, moments of interaction between the two during combat go a long way to breathing life into Youngblood. Matthew Gault, Time, "Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review: Grab a Pal and Fight Some Nazis," 12 Aug. 2019 Automation, but also fierce competition from smaller, more nimble players on Wall Street—including non-bank entities that don't have the capital requirement regulations imposed on banks following the Great Recession. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "The Death of Trading: Why More Big Banks Think the Business Is a Losing Bet," 12 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The duo is starting small, performing their procedures at the outpatient surgery facility Endo-Surgical Center of Florida on North Dean Road. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Dr. 90210' star accepting patients in Orlando," 13 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Because insects can be farmed indoors in small, controlled environments they can be reared in urban areas, reducing the impact of transporting the milk to the city. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "This luxury ice cream is made from insects," 25 July 2019 So, 60 famine years are needed for smalls to make up 90 percent of the population. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Darwinian Evolution Explains Lamarckism’," 2 June 2017 Millions of city residents line up every morning in their neighborhoods to fill smalls pots of water from the water tankers provided by the state. Swati Gupta, CNN, "Indian water train arrives with desperately needed relief for Chennai," 12 July 2019 If a team switches defensively, he's adept at posting smalls and shooting over top for Tim Duncan-like bank shots. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Bojan Bogdanovic explains why he left the Pacers for the Utah Jazz in free agency," 11 July 2019 Which of the three groups (normals, smalls, Epi2s) will be most successful? Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Darwinian Evolution Explains Lamarckism’," 2 June 2017 Is Keanu intentionally not touching women's waists and the smalls of their backs? Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "People have noticed that Keanu Reeves keeps his hands off women in photos," 13 June 2019 Plus sizes and curvy fits sat alongside smalls and slim fits. Khadeeja Safdar, WSJ, "New J.Crew CEO’s Strategy: Lower Prices, More Sizes," 27 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, combine 1 teaspoon butter, 1 small chopped red bell pepper, 1/2 medium chopped onion and 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms in a large microwavable container. Atlanta Life, ajc, "7 Day Menu Planner," 30 Mar. 2018

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for small

Adjective

Middle English smal, from Old English smæl; akin to Old High German smal small, Greek mēlon small domestic animal

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Learn More about small

Dictionary Entries near small

smaik

smairt

SMaj

small

small ad

smallage

small ale

Statistics for small

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for small

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

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More Definitions for small

small

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of small

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: little in size
: few in number or little in amount
: not very important

small

noun

English Language Learners Definition of small (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is sold in a small size : something that is smaller than other things of the same kind

small

adjective
\ ˈsmȯl How to pronounce small (audio) \
smaller; smallest

Kids Definition of small

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : little in size a small house
2 : few in numbers or members a small crowd
3 : little in amount a small supply
4 : very young a small child
5 : not very much small success
6 : unimportant There are some small details to work out.
7 : operating on a limited scale small car dealers
8 : very soft and quiet a small voice
9 : not generous : mean
10 : made up of units of little worth small change
11 : humble entry 1 sense 3, modest She came from a small beginning.
12 : lowered in pride After fumbling the ball, I felt pretty small.
13 : being letters that are not capitals

Other Words from small

smallness noun

small

noun

Kids Definition of small (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part smaller and usually narrower than the rest the small of the back

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More from Merriam-Webster on small

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with small

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for small

Spanish Central: Translation of small

Nglish: Translation of small for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of small for Arabic Speakers

Comments on small

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