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

These particles penetrate deeply into the lungs, and the smallest, as recent research shows, can cross into the bloodstream. Sara Morrison, USA TODAY, "In developing world, an expensive push to reduce cooking fire deaths falls short," 13 July 2018 The point of building up an emergency fund is to tackle unexpected costs, big and small, but with 40% of Americans unable to pay a surprise $400 expense, finding that cash can be tricky. Abby Haglage, refinery29.com, "4 Women Explain Why They Liquidated Their 401(k)s — & If It Was Worth It," 13 July 2018 Investors are favoring smaller, nimbler competitors. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon, Once a ‘Perfect Machine,’ Is Running Dry," 13 July 2018 In November, eight former park employees claimed the park was confining its animals to small, filthy enclosures, leaving medical problems untreated, and withholding food. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Monkey Jungle has reopened. Here is what has happened since the animal-abuse allegations.," 12 July 2018 For the chutney: Place cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet and set over medium flame. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Silky Sweet Corn Soup with Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney," 11 July 2018 Tourists swim, canoe and take cruises in the gorge among freshwater crocodiles, a different species that are small, timid and rarely harm humans. Rod Mcguirk, Fox News, "Australian rangers trap big crocodile near tourist gorge," 10 July 2018 And last year, a meta-analysis of studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that organizational revamps could make a small, but noticeable difference in reducing physician burnout. Lucas Laursen, Fortune, "Burned-Out Doctors Make Twice as Many Errors. The Business World Could Offer a Solution," 10 July 2018 Host team Brazil was the obvious favorite, set to take on their much-smaller neighbor to the south, Uruguay. Candace Rose Rardon, Longreads, "The Country Where Fútbol Comes First," 10 July 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

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

9 Nov 2018

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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Comments on small

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