[ lit-er ]
/ ˈlɪt ər /


verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to give birth to a litter: The cat had littered in the closet.
to strew objects about: If you litter, you may be fined.


    pick of the litter,
    1. the best or choicest of the animals, especially puppies, in a litter.
    2. the best of any class, group, or available selection.

Origin of litter

1250–1300; Middle English litere bed, litter < Anglo-French; Old French litiere < Medieval Latin lectāria, equivalent to Latin lect(us) bed + -āria feminine of -ārius -er2

Related forms

Can be confused

letter lighter liter litter

Synonym study

3. See brood. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for litter

British Dictionary definitions for litter


/ (ˈlɪtə) /



Word Origin for litter

C13 (in the sense: bed): via Anglo-French, ultimately from Latin lectus bed
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

Medicine definitions for litter


[ lĭtər ]


A flat supporting framework, such as a piece of canvas stretched between parallel shafts, for carrying a disabled or dead person; a stretcher.
The offspring produced at one birth by a multiparous mammal.brood
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.