Meaning of SMALL in English


I. ˈsmȯl adjective

Etymology: Middle English smal, from Old English smæl; akin to Old High German smal small, Greek mēlon small domestic animal

Date: before 12th century


a. : having comparatively little size or slight dimensions

b. : lowercase


a. : minor in influence, power, or rank

b. : operating on a limited scale

3. : lacking in strength

a small voice


a. : little or close to zero in an objectively measurable aspect (as quantity, amount, or value)

b. : made up of few or little units


a. : of little consequence : trivial , insignificant

a small problem

b. : humble , modest

a small beginning

6. : limited in degree


a. : mean , petty

b. : reduced to a humiliating position

• small·ish ˈsmȯ-lish adjective

• small·ness ˈsmȯl-nəs noun


small , little , diminutive , minute , tiny , miniature mean noticeably below average in size. small and little are often interchangeable, but small applies more to relative size determined by capacity, value, number

a relatively small backyard

little is more absolute in implication often carrying the idea of petiteness, pettiness, insignificance, or immaturity

your pathetic little smile

diminutive implies abnormal smallness

diminutive bonsai plants

minute implies extreme smallness

a minute amount of caffeine in the soda

tiny is an informal equivalent to minute

tiny cracks formed in the painting

miniature applies to an exactly proportioned reproduction on a very small scale

a dollhouse with miniature furnishings

II. adverb

Date: before 12th century

1. : in or into small pieces

2. : without force or loudness

speak as small as you will — Shakespeare

3. : in a small manner

III. noun

Date: 14th century

1. : a part smaller and especially narrower than the remainder

the small of the back


a. plural : small-sized products

b. plural , chiefly British : smallclothes ; especially : underwear

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.