\ ˈsmȯl How to pronounce small (audio) \

Definition of small

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : having comparatively little size or slight dimensions
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
6 : limited in degree
7a : mean, petty
b : reduced to a humiliating position



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



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


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

Choose the Right Synonym for small


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 Triple Tigers is a small record company with a big roar. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Triple Tigers Names Norbert Nix President as Nashville Label Prepares For a Busy Fall: Exclusive," 29 Sep. 2020 At a small day care in Salt Lake City, an 8-month-old child gave its parents COVID-19 after showing mild symptoms June 15. Joe Carlson, Star Tribune, "Minnesota schools grapple with shifts in COVID-19 cases," 29 Sep. 2020 On the fifth day, mix together the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl., "Recipe: DIY Make-at-Home Pastrami," 28 Sep. 2020 Pictures of cake and keys appeared on the screen, then a small, whiskered animal. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "He’s 7 and blind. How will he learn remotely?," 28 Sep. 2020 The first is to take part in the small in-person and socially distanced option from 6-9 p.m. at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, 1435 Frankfort Ave. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's Waterfront Botanical Gardens is celebrating a full year. How to help it grow," 28 Sep. 2020 Your phone may appear unscathed by a drop - other than some small scratches - but the seal created to keep moisture away from critical components inside can be compromised. Ken Colburn, The Arizona Republic, "How waterproof is the iPhone actually? Here's how to take care of phone water damage," 28 Sep. 2020 In wine country, flames engulfed the distinctive Chateau Boswell Winery north of St. Helena, The Black Rock Inn in the small community of St. Helena and multiple homes in the city of Santa Rosa, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Arkansas Online, "New California fire scorches wine country near San Francisco," 28 Sep. 2020 In Denver, middle-school principal Kurt Dennis plans to have a small group of students in the same classroom with the same teacher all day when buildings open next month. Maya Goldman, WSJ, "Schools Reopen to In-Person Learning, but Teachers Work From Home," 28 Sep. 2020 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,, "'Dr. 90210' star accepting patients in Orlando," 13 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meester revealed her baby bump in late March, when she was photographed out and about in Los Angeles with her hands on the small of her back, wearing a gray T-shirt underneath a pair of long overalls. Jen Juneau,, "Leighton Meester and Adam Brody welcome son: 'He's a dream boy'," 11 Sep. 2020 Meester revealed her baby bump in late March, when she was photographed out and about in Los Angeles with her hands on the small of her back, wearing a gray T-shirt underneath a pair of long overalls. Jen Juneau,, "Leighton Meester and Adam Brody Welcome a Son: 'He's a Dream Boy'," 11 Sep. 2020 Then place the right hand along the small of your back and open up the right shoulder even more. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "Got a stress headache? This 5-minute routine brings relief," 9 Sep. 2020 The revolver was designed to be easily concealed on the small of his back. Les Payne, The New Yorker, "The Day Malcolm X Was Killed," 27 Aug. 2020 Primoptynx may have hunted on small-to-medium-sized primates or mammals that lived in trees and on the ground, Smith told LiveScience. Fox News, "Massive, prehistoric owl with 'hunting feet' discovered," 4 Aug. 2020 By the end of broadcast, Menefee will have several smalls pieces of paper at his feet, each one with information on what happened on each play. Calvin Watkins, Dallas News, "The XFL is giving fans in-game access like never before. And that all starts in the TV truck.," 8 Mar. 2020 If not, just be prepared to take the smalls out a minute or two before the bigs to avoid overcooking. Dawn Perry, New York Times, "Do Chicken Breasts Deserve A Comeback?," 27 Feb. 2020 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

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


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


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for small


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

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Time Traveler for small

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for small

Last Updated

1 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Small.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for small


How to pronounce small (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of small

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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


\ 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



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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