Meaning of LITTLE in English


— littlish /lit"l ish, lit"lish/ , adj. — littleness , n.

/lit"l/ , adj., littler or less or lesser, littlest or least , adv., less, least , n.


1. small in size; not big; not large; tiny: a little desk in the corner of the room.

2. short in duration; not extensive; short; brief: a little while.

3. small in number: a little group of scientists.

4. small in amount or degree; not much: little hope.

5. of a certain amount; appreciable (usually prec. by a ): We're having a little difficulty.

6. being such on a small scale: little farmers.

7. younger or youngest: He's my little brother.

8. not strong, forceful, or loud; weak: a little voice.

9. small in consideration, importance, position, affluence, etc.: little discomforts; tax reductions to help the little fellow.

10. mean, narrow, or illiberal: a little mind.

11. endearingly small or considered as such: Bless your little heart!

12. amusingly small or so considered: a funny little way of laughing.

13. contemptibly small, petty, mean, etc., or so considered: filthy little political tricks.


14. not at all (used before a verb): He little knows what awaits him.

15. in only a small amount or degree; not much; slightly: a little known work of art; little better than a previous effort.

16. seldom; rarely; infrequently: We see each other very little.


17. a small amount, quantity, or degree: They did little to make him comfortable. If you want some ice cream, there's a little in the refrigerator.

18. a short distance: It's down the road a little.

19. a short time: Stay here for a little.

20. in little , on a small scale; in miniature: a replica in little of Independence Hall.

21. little by little , by small degrees; gradually: The water level rose little by little.

22. make little of ,

a. belittle: to make little of one's troubles.

b. to understand or interpret only slightly: Scholars made little of the newly discovered text.

23. not a little , to a great extent; very much; considerably: It tired me not a little to stand for three hours.

24. think little of , to treat casually; regard as trivial: They think little of driving 50 miles to see a movie.

[ bef. 900; ME, OE lytel ( lyt few, small + -el dim. suffix), c. D luttel, OHG luzzil, ON litill ]

Syn. 1-4. tiny, teeny, wee. LITTLE, DIMINUTIVE, MINUTE, SMALL refer to that which is not large or significant. LITTLE (the opposite of big ) is very general, covering size, extent, number, quantity, amount, duration, or degree: a little boy; a little time. SMALL (the opposite of large and of great ) can many times be used interchangeably with LITTLE, but is especially applied to what is limited or below the average in size: small oranges.

DIMINUTIVE denotes (usually physical) size that is much less than the average or ordinary; it may suggest delicacy: the baby's diminutive fingers; diminutive in size but autocratic in manner. MINUTE suggests that which is so tiny it is difficult to discern, or that which implies attentiveness to the smallest details: a minute quantity; a minute exam.

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .