\ 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 Clinton, a small river town, was hit hard by the Depression, and her father, Melville Francis Mason, was out of work and soon out of the picture, divorcing his wife in 1930., "Rene Carpenter, astronaut’s wife who broke NASA mold, 92," 30 July 2020 Makiia was a rising 4th grade student at D.F. Walker Elementary school in Edenton, a small town on Abermarle Sound. Steve Helling,, "'Precious Gem': N.C. Girl , 9, Is Fatally Shot and Mom Is Injured, as Police Seek Shooter," 29 July 2020 Residents enjoy the small-town atmosphere, schools and proximity to shopping, dining and entertainment options. Dallas News, "Firm’s Southlake office can help find your ‘dream home’," 12 July 2020 Angelika Harden-Norman and her husband, Darrell, a Blackfeet artist, own a tepee lodge and gallery that sits just outside the small town of Browning on the road to Glacier. Kathleen Mclaughlin, Washington Post, "A closed border, pandemic-weary tourists and a big bottleneck at Glacier National Park," 11 July 2020 The story follows a young boy who befriends an older billionaire who lives in his small-town neighborhood, with the duo bonding over the man's first iPhone. Lauren Huff,, "Blumhouse, Ryan Murphy to produce Stephen King adaptation Mr. Harrigan's Phone for Netflix," 10 July 2020 Spend your thrifty weekend enjoying nature, a small-town atmosphere, history, and shopping in places like Shepherdstown, a picturesque college community. Travel + Leisure, "8 Affordable Weekend Getaways Around the U.S.," 10 July 2020 The film opens with Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) driving up to their Australian small-town family home to check on Edna (Robyn Nevin), Kay’s mother, who has been MIA for several days. Anne Cohen,, "The Ending Of Relic Reveals A Monster We’d Rather Not Think About," 10 July 2020 The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith to join CNBC as host of 'The News with Shepard Smith'," 9 July 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 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 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

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

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Small.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on small

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for small

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with small

Spanish Central: Translation of small

Nglish: Translation of small for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of small for Arabic Speakers

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