[ lit-er ]
See synonyms for: litterlitteredlittering on

  1. objects strewn or scattered about; scattered rubbish.

  2. a condition of disorder or untidiness: We were appalled at the litter of the room.

  1. a number of young brought forth by a multiparous animal at one birth: a litter of six kittens.

  2. a framework of cloth stretched between two parallel bars, for the transportation of a sick or wounded person; stretcher.

  3. a vehicle carried by people or animals, consisting of a bed or couch, often covered and curtained, suspended between shafts.

  4. straw, hay, or the like, used as bedding for animals or as protection for plants.

  5. the layer of slightly decomposed organic material on the surface of the floor of the forest.

verb (used with object)
  1. to strew (a place) with scattered objects, rubbish, etc.: to be fined for littering the sidewalk.

  2. to scatter (objects) in disorder: They littered their toys from one end of the playroom to the other.

  1. to be strewn about (a place) in disorder (often followed by up): Bits of paper littered the floor.

  2. to give birth to (young), as a multiparous animal.

  3. to supply (an animal) with litter for a bed.

  4. to use (straw, hay, etc.) for litter.

  5. to cover (a floor or other area) with straw, hay, etc., for litter.

verb (used without object)
  1. to give birth to a litter: The cat had littered in the closet.

  2. to strew objects about: If you litter, you may be fined.

Idioms about litter

  1. pick of the litter,

    • the best or choicest of the animals, especially puppies, in a litter.

    • the best of any class, group, or available selection.

Origin of litter

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English litere “bed, litter,” from Anglo-French; Old French litiere, from Medieval Latin lectāria, equivalent to Latin lect(us) “bed” + -āria feminine of -ārius noun suffix; see -er2

synonym study For litter

3. See brood.

Other words for litter

Other words from litter

  • lit·ter·er, noun
  • an·ti·lit·ter, adjective
  • an·ti·lit·ter·ing, adjective
  • de-litter, verb (used with object)
  • un·lit·tered, adjective

Words that may be confused with litter

Words Nearby litter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use litter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for litter


/ (ˈlɪtə) /

    • small refuse or waste materials carelessly dropped, esp in public places

    • (as modifier): litter bin

  1. a disordered or untidy condition or a collection of objects in this condition

  1. a group of offspring produced at one birth by a mammal such as a sow

  2. a layer of partly decomposed leaves, twigs, etc, on the ground in a wood or forest

  3. straw, hay, or similar material used as bedding, protection, etc, by animals or plants

  4. a means of conveying people, esp sick or wounded people, consisting of a light bed or seat held between parallel sticks

  1. to make (a place) untidy by strewing (refuse)

  2. to scatter (objects, etc) about or (of objects) to lie around or upon (anything) in an untidy fashion

  1. (of pigs, cats, etc) to give birth to (offspring)

  2. (tr) to provide (an animal or plant) with straw or hay for bedding, protection, etc

Origin of 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