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 littlest
Sometimes the littlest moments, like a goodnight kiss, are the most important.Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s Favorite World of Wonder Clips (VIDEO)|Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato|February 5, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Is any of it a little, how shall we say, even the littlest bit unwarranted?
For my littlest brother, 24, my parents have given up their traditional expectations.
"I'd be mighty glad to have a good square talk with some woman from the States," rejoined the Littlest Girl, hesitatingly.Heart's Desire|Emerson Hough
The littlest Forest Child was already asleep, curled close by the fire.The Little House in the Fairy Wood|Ethel Cook Eliot
Miss Maria sank down, in a curtsey so well devised that it showed the littlest foot in the world, save only Elizabeth's.The Ladies|E. Barrington
Even the littlest Indian's calf-skin would be worth money if he caught it.Strange Stories of the Great River|Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
I knew that the littlest things hurt just as much as the big.The Chronicles of Rhoda|Florence Tinsley Cox
- 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