adjective, small·er, small·est.
adverb, small·er, small·est.
- household linen, as napkins, pillowcases, etc.
- small advertisement,
- small arm,
- small arms,
- small beer,
- small business administration
Origin of small
Examples from the Web for smallness
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, in smallness and in height.For Short Men in 2014, The News Is Surprisingly Good|Kevin Bleyer|September 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Their smallness brings us back to ourselves, marshals our focus, endows the future with its potential, its possibility.The Promise of Happiness After the Newtown Shooting|William Giraldi|January 27, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The Daily Pic: Corban Walker expands on issues of smallness.
Indeed what's most depressing about Ngai's terms is their smallness, their triviality.Zany, Cute, Interesting: What the Words We Use Say About Us|Benjamin Lytal|October 23, 2012|DAILY BEAST
And he portrays himself as the candidate of big ideas who struggles with the smallness of American politics.Newt Gingrich’s Zombie Campaign, Neither Dead nor Alive|Howard Kurtz|March 29, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The males were tolerably good and were known by the smallness of their two fore-claws or feeders.A Voyage to the South Sea|William Bligh
The proceeds of the sale amounted to about £1000—a large sum, considering the smallness of the farm.Cattle and Cattle-breeders|William M'Combie
The oppression of the subscriptions is tempered by the smallness of the sum which may satisfy them.Seven English Cities|William Dean Howells
The smallness of the quantity in currency only heightens the value.
This, with a half-apologetic air, as if to deprecate its smallness, I produced from my pocket and handed to him.Dead Man's Rock|Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
Word Origin for small
Old English smæl "thin, slender, narrow; fine," from Proto-Germanic *smal- "small animal; small" (cf. Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German smal, Old Frisian smel, German schmal "narrow, slender," Gothic smalista "smallest," Old Norse smali "small cattle, sheep"), perhaps from a PIE root *(s)melo- "smaller animal" (cf. Greek melon, Old Irish mil "a small animal;" Old Church Slavonic malu "bad"). Original sense of "narrow" now almost obsolete, except in reference to waistline and intestines.
My sister ... is as white as a lilly, and as small as a wand. [Shakespeare, "Two Gentlemen of Verona," 1591]
Sense of "not large, of little size" developed in Old English. Of children, "young," from mid-13c. Meaning "inferior in degree or amount" is from late 13c. Meaning "trivial, unimportant" is from mid-14c. Sense of "having little property or trade" is from 1746. That of "characterized by littleness of mind or spirit, base, low, mean" is from 1824. As an adverb by late 14c.
Small fry, first recorded 1690s of little fish, 1885 of insignificant people. Small potatoes "no great matter" first attested 1924; small change "something of little value" is from 1902; small talk "chit-chat, trifling conversation" (1751) first recorded in Chesterfield's "Letters." Small world as a comment upon an unexpected meeting of acquaintances is recorded from 1895. Small-arms, indicating those capable of being carried in the hand (contrasted to ordnance) is recorded from 1710.
early 13c., "small person or animal," from small (adj.). From c.1300 as "persons of low rank" (opposed to great); late 15c. as "the small part" of something (e.g. small of the back, 1530s).
In addition to the idioms beginning with small
- small beer
- small cog in a large wheel
- small frog in a big pond
- small fry
- small hours
- small print
- small talk
- small time
- small wonder
- big fish in a small pond
- (small) cog in the wheel
- give thanks for small blessings
- it's a small world
- little (small) frog in a big pond
- make a (small) fortune
- no (small) wonder
- still small voice