Meaning of LITTLE in English

LITTLE

I. DETERMINER, QUANTIFIER, AND ADVERB USES

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

1.

You use ~ to indicate that there is only a very small amount of something. You can use ‘so’, ‘too’, and ‘very’ in front of ~.

I had ~ money and ~ free time...

I find that I need very ~ sleep these days...

There is ~ doubt that a diet high in fibre is more satisfying...

So far ~ progress has been made towards ending the fighting...

DET: DET n-uncount

Little is also a quantifier.

Little of the existing housing is of good enough quality...

? much

QUANT: QUANT of def-n

Little is also a pronoun.

In general, employers do ~ to help the single working mother...

Little is known about his childhood.

PRON

2.

Little means not very often or to only a small extent.

On their way back to Marseille they spoke very ~...

ADV: ADV with v

3.

A ~ of something is a small amount of it, but not very much. You can also say a very ~.

Mrs Caan needs a ~ help getting her groceries home...

A ~ food would do us all some good...

I shall be only a very ~ time.

DET: DET n-uncount

Little is also a pronoun.

They get paid for it. Not much. Just a ~.

PRON

Little is also a quantifier.

Pour a ~ of the sauce over the chicken...

I’m sure she won’t mind sparing us a ~ of her time.

QUANT: QUANT of def-n-uncount/sing

4.

If you do something a ~, you do it for a short time.

He walked a ~ by himself in the garden.

ADV: ADV after v

5.

A ~ or a ~ bit means to a small extent or degree.

He complained a ~ of a nagging pain between his shoulder blades...

He was a ~ bit afraid of his father’s reaction...

If you have to drive when you are tired, go a ~ more slowly than you would normally...

ADV: ADV after v, ADV adj/adv

6.

If something happens ~ by ~, it happens very gradually.

In the beginning he had felt well, but ~ by ~ he was becoming weaker...

= gradually

PHRASE: PHR with cl

II. ADJECTIVE USES

(~r, ~st)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: The comparative '~r' and the superlative '~st' are sometimes used in spoken English for meanings 1, 3, and 4, but otherwise the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective '~' are not used.

1.

Little things are small in size. Little is slightly more informal than small .

We sat around a ~ table, eating and drinking wine.

...the ~ group of art students.

= small

? big

ADJ: usu ADJ n

2.

You use ~ to indicate that someone or something is small, in a pleasant and attractive way.

She’s got the nicest ~ house not far from the library.

...a ~ old lady...

James usually drives a ~ hatchback.

ADJ: ADJ n

3.

A ~ child is young.

I have a ~ boy of 8...

When I was ~ I was very hyper-active.

ADJ

4.

Your ~ sister or brother is younger than you are.

Whenever Daniel’s ~ sister was asked to do something she always had a naughty reply.

? big

ADJ: ADJ n

5.

A ~ distance, period of time, or event is short in length.

Just go down the road a ~ way, turn left, and cross the bridge...

Why don’t we just wait a ~ while and see what happens...

I’ve been wanting to have a ~ talk with you.

? long

ADJ: ADJ n

6.

A ~ sound or gesture is quick.

I had a ~ laugh to myself...

She stood up quickly, giving a ~ cry of astonishment...

He turned with a ~ nod and I watched him walk away.

ADJ: ADJ n

7.

You use ~ to indicate that something is not serious or important.

...irritating ~ habits...

Harry found himself getting angry over ~ things that had never bothered him before.

ADJ: ADJ n

Collins COBUILD.      Толковый словарь английского языка для изучающих язык Коллинз COBUILD (международная база данных языков Бирмингемского университета) .