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.

Nearby words

  1. litt.m.,
  2. littb,
  3. littd,
  4. litten,
  5. litten's phenomenon,
  6. litter lout,
  7. litterae humaniores,
  8. litterateur,
  9. litteratim,
  10. litterbag


    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 confusedletter 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 littered

British Dictionary definitions for littered



  1. small refuse or waste materials carelessly dropped, esp in public places
  2. (as modifier)litter bin
a disordered or untidy condition or a collection of objects in this condition
a group of offspring produced at one birth by a mammal such as a sow
a layer of partly decomposed leaves, twigs, etc, on the ground in a wood or forest
straw, hay, or similar material used as bedding, protection, etc, by animals or plants
a means of conveying people, esp sick or wounded people, consisting of a light bed or seat held between parallel sticks


to make (a place) untidy by strewing (refuse)
to scatter (objects, etc) about or (of objects) to lie around or upon (anything) in an untidy fashion
(of pigs, cats, etc) to give birth to (offspring)
(tr) to provide (an animal or plant) with straw or hay for bedding, protection, etc

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

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

Medicine definitions for littered




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.