adjective, lit·tler or less or less·er, lit·tlest or least.
adverb, less, least.
- little abaco,
- little alföld,
- little alliance,
- little america,
- little auk
- belittle: to make little of one's troubles.
- to understand or interpret only slightly: Scholars made little of the newly discovered text.
Origin of little
Examples from the Web for littleness
There is some consolation in the thought that the littleness of these fine gentlemen was the cause of their overthrow.The Story of Bruges|Ernest Gilliat-Smith
I suppose that you are a great man—for I cant say that my littleness has any means of knowing.Paths of Judgement|Anne Douglas Sedgwick
The Teacher of Literature is a man who chafes, as so many of Tchehov's heroes do, at the littleness of life.Why we should read|S. P. B. Mais
Things are little by partaking of littleness, great by partaking of greatness, and the like.Parmenides|Plato
This situation was one of the kind that had made him despise the littleness of men.The Man of the Forest|Zane Grey
- a small quantity, extent, or duration ofthe little hope there is left; very little milk
- (as pronoun)save a little for me
- a lot
Word Origin for little
Old English lytel "not large, not much; short in distance or time; unimportant," also used in late Old English as a noun, "small piece; a short time," from West Germanic *lutilla- (cf. Old Saxon luttil, Dutch luttel, Old High German luzzil, German lützel, Gothic leitils "little"), perhaps originally a diminutive of the root of Old English lyt "little, few," from PIE *leud- "small." "Often synonymous with small, but capable of emotional implications which small is not" [OED].
Phrase the little woman "wife" attested from 1795. Little people "the faeries" is from 1726; as "children," it is attested from 1752; as "ordinary people" (opposed to the great), it is attested from 1827. Little Neck clams (1884) are so called for Little Neck, Long Island, a "neck" of land on the island's North Shore. Little by little is from late 15c. (litylle be litille). Little green men "space aliens" is from 1950. Little black dress is from 1939.
At the beginning of summer, smart women who stay in town like to wear sheer "little black dresses." Because most "little black dresses" look alike, retailers struggle each year to find something which will make them seem new. ["Life," June 13, 1939]
Little Orphan Annie originally was (as Little Orphant Annie) the character in James Whitcomb Riley's 1885 poem, originally titled "Elf Child." The U.S. newspaper comic strip created by Harold Gray (1894-1968) debuted in 1924 in the New York "Daily News."
LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
[Riley, "Elf Child"]
OE lytlian, from root of little (adj.).
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
- 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