\ 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



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 small (audio) \ adjective
smallness \ ˈsmȯl-​nəs How to pronounce small (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 China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that the risks of harm were small. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Chinese Rocket Returns to Earth Over Indian Ocean," 9 May 2021 So far the effect on fuel prices has been small, with gasoline and diesel futures rising about 1 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. New York Times, "Cyberattack Forces a Shutdown of a Top U.S. Pipeline," 8 May 2021 While most individual police departments are small, the majority of officers nationwide work for the biggest forces, patrolling communities where the largest populations live. Washington Post, "Most police departments in America are small. That’s partly why changing policing is difficult, experts say.," 8 May 2021 The hospital does have the advantage of being relatively small compared to other hospitals. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Top Workplaces 2021: The Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin earns top scores for patient satisfaction -- and employee satisfaction," 7 May 2021 French students did well on international tests, and the gap between haves and have-nots was relatively small. Natalie Wexler, Forbes, "The Black Hole At The Center Of Biden’s Education Plan," 7 May 2021 This magnolia produces blossoms that are small and creamy yellow, as well as a strong fruity fragrance. Southern Living, "We Love the Yellow Flowering Magnolias for Small Yards," 7 May 2021 But most studies find that the impact on the overall labor market is small, especially when unemployment is high., "Unemployment claims fell sharply last week," 6 May 2021 The park is relatively small compared to other state parks in Ohio. John Pana, cleveland, "2 waterfalls to see at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park (video)," 5 May 2021 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 There's the Best Choice Products 32-inch option, which customers gave high marks for its solid fit for small-to medium-sized patios. Jon Winkler, USA TODAY, "Patio furniture galore is on sale right now at Walmart—shop all the best pieces," 27 Apr. 2021 Akkio starts at $500 per month for a version for small-to-medium-sized businesses but cost more for a license suitable for a larger corporation. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "No-code A.I. is coming. Is your company ready?," 6 Apr. 2021 The headband is geared towards medium to large heads, with plenty of adjustment, but probably not suited to the small-headed. Antony Leather, Forbes, "Corsair HS70 Bluetooth Headset Review: Nintendo Switch Owners Will Love It," 19 Mar. 2021 Then place the right hand along the small of your back and open up the right shoulder even more. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "Whether you have just 5, 10 or 15 minutes, these stress relief workouts can help," 22 Dec. 2020 Then place the right hand along the small of your back and open up the right shoulder even more. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "Whether you have just 5, 10 or 15 minutes, these stress relief workouts can help," 22 Dec. 2020 Then place the right hand along the small of your back and open up the right shoulder even more. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "Whether you have just 5, 10 or 15 minutes, these stress relief workouts can help," 22 Dec. 2020 These are the front-line pros who face long days filled with uncertainty, so now is the time to give back with a little something to pamper and put a small on someone’s face. David Syrek,, "10 great gifts for nurses and caregivers," 11 Dec. 2020 The federal suit focuses on the incident, and alleges that at least three officers were on top of the small-framed and unarmed man while trying to subdue him on March 13. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "More family members sue Chula Vista over death of father after struggle with police," 7 Dec. 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


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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Small.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for small



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

More from Merriam-Webster on small

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for small

Nglish: Translation of small for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of small for Arabic Speakers

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