Slang dictionary

li’l

or lil or lil’

What does li’l mean?

Li’l is an abbreviation of the word little. It’s often used in names or titles to emphasize youth or physical size.

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Where does li’l come from?

Examples of li’l

“My lil rockstar.....
Sunday fun.....
#cjsingh #familyfun #daughter #proud #rockstar #lil #master ##sunday#fun”
CJ Singh Facebook (October 2, 2016)
“So yesterday someone said something they shouldn't and I addressed it. Being the craft queen I am.. I made them a lil plaque to remember ❤️”
Queen queen @quenblackwell Twitter (May 6, 2017)
“But now, hip-hop is dominated by li'l people - in stature and in age. 'It's a youth movement. The market is dominated by 13- to 18-year-olds,' Martinez says. 'They're buying the records, the advertising and the material. Plus, everybody knows a Li'l John-John or a Li'l Somebody from their neighborhood.'”
Kelley L. Carter, “Li'l teens the big shots of hip-hop,” Billings Gazette (April 12, 2002)
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Who uses li’l?

Li’l can be used as a descriptor for height or age. It’s often applied to the beginning of a name or title, or used regularly as an adjective. Its abbreviated form usually suggests humor, affection, or cuteness. It may also imply that a character is rural or Southern.

In hip-hip, a lot of rappers choose to name themselves “Li’l ____” for a number of reasons. Some, like Lil Wayne and Lil’ Kim, use lil to allude to their short stature. Others, like Lil’ Romeo, use lil in reference to their age (since maturing, this particular rapper has dropped the Lil’ and just goes by Romeo). These names often begin as nicknames created by friends.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of li’l like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of li’l that will help our users expand their word mastery.