small

adjective
\ ˈsmȯl \

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 \ adjective
smallness \ ˈsmȯl-​nəs \ 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

Add 2 tsp salt, then pasta, and cook per pkg. directions. Make pesto: While pasta is in boiling water, place herbs in a small strainer and dip them into the water to wilt, then immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Kale Pesto Pasta," 9 Jan. 2019 The classes are relatively small (around 40 students each) and are full of laughter. Sarah Butrymowicz, Marie Claire, "Refugee Girls Want to Change the World. Will We Let Them?," 7 Jan. 2019 The relative rarity of the condition suggests that a small number of people on the Panamanian coast were doing something more immersive—and diving for oysters fits the bill. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The skulls of ancient pearl divers come with abnormal ear canal bone growths," 28 Dec. 2018 This year, my rotation of bags has been structured, restrained, pared-back, and yes, small. Alexandra Gurvitch, Vogue, "Why the Hobo Bag Should Make a Comeback in 2019," 24 Dec. 2018 Academic research has shown that most of these types of bills actually originate from a small number of hospitals. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "I read 1,182 emergency room bills this year. Here’s what I learned.," 18 Dec. 2018 With the pressure for everyone, big and small, to constantly produce new products and new content, there’s a greater chance for gaffes and misunderstandings. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The biggest beauty trend in 2018? Makeup brands behaving badly," 18 Dec. 2018 The templates are printable and can be used to build small, medium, or large homes. Sam Gutierrez, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines’s DIY Christmas Village Templates Are The Easiest (And Cutest) Way To Decorate Your Mantel," 11 Dec. 2018 Animals will also evolve to sneak through smaller cracks. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018

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

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 No defense can close out perfectly against the Rockets for an entire game, but the Thunder—bigs and smalls alike—kept it reasonable and forced specialists to put the ball on the floor. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Thunder Build Case as Western Conference Contenders One Defensive Rotation at a Time," 25 Dec. 2017 Firefighters also are conducting small, controlled burns that destroy fuel for the wildfire. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Winds put hundreds of homes in Montecito area in danger as Thomas fire rages," 15 Dec. 2017 The Suns can be tempted at some point to give up Jackson, an athletic small forward who would help the Cavs. Terry Pluto, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Browns camp early quarterback report -- Terry Pluto (video)," 3 Aug. 2017 Sea Pride normally sells a dozen crabs for $16 for smalls to $100 for jumbos. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "Abundant crabs not too pricey for Maryland's Fourth," 30 June 2017 In addition to music, Wallace has dabbled in movies, starring as a young Smalls in the 2009 biopic about his father, Notorious. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Biggie Smalls’ 20-Year-Old Son Pays Tribute to His Father in Rare Appearance: ‘I Live My Life by His Words’," 22 May 2017

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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Dictionary Entries near small

smaik

smairt

SMaj

small

small ad

smallage

small ale

Statistics for small

Last Updated

19 Jan 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 \
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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