adjective, small·er, small·est.

adverb, small·er, small·est.


Nearby words

  1. smackeroo,
  2. smackhead,
  3. smacking,
  4. smackingly,
  5. smaik,
  6. small advertisement,
  7. small arm,
  8. small arms,
  9. small beer,
  10. small business administration


    feel small, to be ashamed or mortified: Her unselfishness made me feel small.

Origin of small

before 900; Middle English smale (adj., noun, and adv.), Old English smæl; cognate with Dutch smal, German schmal

1. tiny. See little. 2. slight. 1, 3, 5. Smaller, less indicate a diminution, or not so large a size or quantity in some respect. Smaller, as applied to concrete objects, is used with reference to size: smaller apples. Less is used of material in bulk, with reference to amount, and in cases where attributes such as value and degree are in question: A nickel is less than a dime (in value). A sergeant is less than a lieutenant (in rank). As an abstraction, amount may be either smaller or less, though smaller is usually used when the idea of size is suggested: a smaller opportunity. Less is used when the idea of quantity is present: less courage. 9. trifling, petty, unimportant, minor, secondary, nugatory, inconsequential, paltry, insignificant. 11. small-minded, narrow-minded, mean, selfish, narrow. 12. feeble.

Related formssmall·ness, nounul·tra·small, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smallness

British Dictionary definitions for smallness



comparatively little; limited in size, number, importance, etc
of little importance or on a minor scalea small business
lacking in moral or mental breadth or deptha small mind
modest or humblesmall beginnings
of low or inferior status, esp socially
(of a child or animal) young; not mature
unimportant, triviala small matter
not outstandinga small actor
of, relating to, or designating the ordinary modern minuscule letter used in printing and cursive writingCompare capital 1 (def. 13) See also lower case
lacking great strength or forcea small effort
in fine particlessmall gravel
obsolete (of beer, etc) of low alcoholic strength


into small piecesyou have to cut it small
in a small or soft manner
feel small to be humiliated or inferior


the small an object, person, or group considered to be smalldo you want the small or the large?
a small slender part, esp of the back
(plural) informal, mainly British items of personal laundry, such as underwear
Derived Formssmallish, adjectivesmallness, noun

Word Origin for small

Old English smæl; related to Old High German smal, Old Norse smali small cattle

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

Word Origin and History for smallness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with smallness


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

also see:

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