\ 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 As a majority of the precincts yet to be heard from are very small, however, it is hardly expected that this ratio would be kept up. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Oct. 2021 According to the new recommendations, the benefit of daily low-dose aspirin is small for most people ages 40 to 59, while the risk of bleeding problems is higher. NBC News, 12 Oct. 2021 Located near the Florida border, Charlton County is small, with a total population of 12,518. Lautaro Grinspan, ajc, 11 Oct. 2021 In the whole scheme of things, the spectrum available for licensed, commercial use is small. Roslyn Layton, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 If the stones or rocks inside your gas fireplace are small enough to get sucked up by the vacuum, carefully remove them before vacuuming. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Oct. 2021 Stroud knows that even if the window is small, the throw will be there. Stephen Means, cleveland, 10 Oct. 2021 But even if their numbers are small in comparison to some other states, electorally Black voters still comprise a crucial component of the Democratic coalition. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Oct. 2021 The idea that Aladdin is self-conscious about being small is not a strong enough game to carry a sketch, and bringing on Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott to emasculate Aladdin throws this immediately off the rails. Alexis Pereira, Vulture, 10 Oct. 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,, 13 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cary pressed on, his fanny pack and its contents jabbing the small of his back, but encountered more signs. Thomas Mcguane, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Finish each tasty tree with a small for a pine needle look. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Aug. 2021 The victim told police one man placed what felt like a gun in the small of his back while the second offender took the wallet from his back pocket., 9 Aug. 2021 At one point, the pair leaned in close for a kiss, with Kinnaman wrapping an arm around his fiancée and placing it on the small of her back. Jen Juneau,, 3 Aug. 2021 His mother joined him, along with Hancock, who now oversaw the family’s safety and wore a handgun at the small of his back. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 28 June 2021 The prospect of small-to-medium-sized businesses having in-house call centers is unrealistic. Logan Rush, Forbes, 15 June 2021 There's nothing magical about the sweat patches already forming at the small of my back and under my arms, however. Ew Staff,, 6 May 2021 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, 27 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near small



small ad

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Small.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 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 : minor



English Language Learners Definition of small (Entry 3 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

Nglish: Translation of small for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of small for Arabic Speakers


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