small

adjective
\ 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

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 numbers, big or small, gave her some peace of mind. Michael Errigo, Washington Post, "This 15-year-old maintains a website that tracks coronavirus cases in schools," 23 Oct. 2020 Mapping the interplay between patterns of human mobility in and through cities with the contours of human co-presence activity is thus critical for managing all disease outbreaks, big or small. Sun Sun Lim, Scientific American, "A Sustainable Alternative to Blanket Lockdowns," 22 Oct. 2020 An inspector will approach a home from an unbiased and neutral perspective, checking the roofing, the wiring, the plumbing, the HVAC system, etc., for issues big and small. Melissa Rolland, courant.com, "Getting the most out of your home inspection," 22 Oct. 2020 With first-year contributions big and small, here’s a look at all 13 Ravens rookies who’ve either joined the 53-man roster or appeared in a game this season. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "From Patrick Queen to Kristian Welch, here’s how the Ravens' rookies have fared through Week 6," 22 Oct. 2020 New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days. Anchorage Daily News, "Virus spikes have officials across the US looking to shore up hospitals," 21 Oct. 2020 New highs in cases have been reported in states big and small — from Idaho to Ohio — in recent days. Arkansas Online, "Virus spikes have officials looking to shore up hospitals," 21 Oct. 2020 Woman’s Day is a destination for celebrations big and small—a place where no holiday is left behind! Woman's Day, "About WomansDay.com," 21 Oct. 2020 Relocations for animals big and small have a mixed record. Popular Science, "How 25 chinchillas could save a mountain," 20 Oct. 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, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Dr. 90210' star accepting patients in Orlando," 13 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Keep the left palm pressing into the earth or deepen the twist by taking the left hand to the small of your back. Kelly Dinardo New York Times, Star Tribune, "Exercise your way to better sleep," 23 Oct. 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, EW.com, "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, PEOPLE.com, "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

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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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

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Small.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/small. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for small

small

adjective
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

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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Comments on small

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