little

[lit-l]

adjective, lit·tler or less or less·er, lit·tlest or least.

adverb, less, least.

noun


Nearby words

  1. litterbag,
  2. litterbug,
  3. littering,
  4. littermate,
  5. littery,
  6. little abaco,
  7. little alföld,
  8. little alliance,
  9. little america,
  10. little auk

Idioms

Origin of little

before 900; Middle English, Old English lȳtel (lȳt few, small + -el diminutive suffix), cognate with Dutch luttel, Old High German luzzil, Old Norse lītill

SYNONYMS FOR little
1–4. tiny, teeny, wee. Little, diminutive, minute, small refer to that which is not large or significant. Little (the opposite of big ) is very general, covering size, extent, number, quantity, amount, duration, or degree: a little boy; a little time. Small (the opposite of large and of great ) can many times be used interchangeably with little, but is especially applied to what is limited or below the average in size: small oranges. Diminutive denotes (usually physical) size that is much less than the average or ordinary; it may suggest delicacy: the baby's diminutive fingers; diminutive in size but autocratic in manner. Minute suggests that which is so tiny it is difficult to discern, or that which implies attentiveness to the smallest details: a minute quantity; a minute exam.

Related formslit·tlish [lit-l-ish, lit-lish] /ˈlɪt l ɪʃ, ˈlɪt lɪʃ/, adjectivelit·tle·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for a little

little

determiner

(often preceded by a)
  1. a small quantity, extent, or duration ofthe little hope there is left; very little milk
  2. (as pronoun)save a little for me
not muchlittle damage was done
make little of See make of (def. 3)
not a little
  1. very
  2. a lot
quite a little a considerable amount
think little of to have a low opinion of

adjective

of small or less than average size
younga little boy; our little ones
endearingly familiar; dearmy husband's little ways
contemptible, mean, or disagreeableyour filthy little mind
(of a region or district) resembling another country or town in miniaturelittle Venice
little game a person's secret intention or businessso that's his little game!
no little considerable

adverb

(usually preceded by a) in a small amount; to a small extent or degree; not a lotto laugh a little
(used preceding a verb) not at all, or hardlyhe little realized his fate
not much or oftenwe go there very little now
little by little by small degrees

Word Origin for little

Old English lӯtel; related to lӯr few, Old High German luzzil

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for a little
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with a little

a little

1

A small amount, as in Will you have some more meat? Yes, just a little. [Early 1400s]

2

Somewhat or rather, slightly, as in I am a little annoyed with Harry. [Late 1300s] For a synonym, see a bit.

little

In addition to the idioms beginning with little

  • little bird told one, a
  • little by little
  • little frog in a big pond
  • little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a
  • little pitchers have big ears

also see:

  • a little
  • every little bit helps
  • in one's own (little) world
  • make little of
  • precious few (little)
  • think little of
  • to little purpose
  • too little, too late
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.