View synonyms for small time

small time



  1. a circuit of minor theaters giving three or more shows daily.



[ smawl-tahym ]


  1. of modest or insignificant size, importance, or influence:

    a small-time politician.



  1. informal.
    insignificant; minor

    a small-time criminal

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Derived Forms

  • ˈsmall-ˈtimer, noun

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Other Words From

  • small-timer noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of small time1

An Americanism dating back to 1920–25

Origin of small time2

First recorded in 1910–15

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Idioms and Phrases

A modest or minor level of achievement, as in Her success took her out of the small time to prime-time television . This expression was originally used in vaudeville for second-rate theaters and productions. [Early 1900s] Also see big time , def. 2.

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Example Sentences

Then “the transport of an air parcel is calculated for small time steps, one after each other,” he says.

There is certainly a lucrative yet dignified sweet spot between small time micro-brewer and soulless mass-producer.

You worked with the late, great Elaine Stritch twice—on September and Small Time Crooks.

Last August, a small-time classic rock cover band performed at a bar called 69 Taps in Medina, outside Cleveland.

Did Christie Go Easy on a Sex Trafficker Just to Bust a Small-Time Pol?

Conservatives attacking Baldwin for his latest fit of (justified) anger are being small-time and shortsighted.

The difficulty of the end is the mass of matter to be attended to, and the small time left to transact it in.

From the dates of Mr. Seward's circulars, it is evident that he devoted small time to official 'house-warming' or 'cleaning up.'

However, in a small time afterwards he recovered, and I was again sold.

They are welcome, but Pray entertaine them a small time, lest I Be unprovided.

Coyne gave them small time to wonder what brought him into their midst.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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