small time

noun (in vaudeville)

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

Origin of small time

An Americanism dating back to 1920–25

Definition for small time (2 of 2)

[ smawl-tahym ]
/ ˈsmɔlˈtaɪm /


of modest or insignificant size, importance, or influence: a small-time politician.

Origin of small-time

First recorded in 1910–15


small-timer, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for small time

British Dictionary definitions for small time



informal insignificant; minora small-time criminal

Derived forms of small-time

small-timer, noun
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

Idioms and Phrases with small time

small time

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.

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