- 1Small in size, amount, or degree (often used to convey an appealing diminutiveness or express an affectionate or condescending attitude): the plants will grow into little bushes a little puppy dog a boring little manMore example sentences
small, small-scale, compact; mini, miniature, tiny, minute, minuscule; toy, baby, pocket, undersized, dwarf, midget, fun-size; bijou, dainty, cute, sweet, dear; Scottish weeBritish • informal titchy, ickleNorth American • informal little-bitty, vest-pocketshort, small, slight, thin, petite, diminutive, tiny; squat, stubby; elfin, dwarf, dwarfish, midget, pygmy, bantam, homuncular, Lilliputian; Scottish wee
- There's always a little old man sat behind the counter, and no one ever seems to be in there.
- While a little black spot on the sun may seem like a simple act, the transit of Venus is not.
- All he needed to do now was to point his telescope at the sun all day and look for a little black spot.
- 1.1(Of a person) young or younger: my little brother when she was little she was always getting into scrapesMore example sentences
- He had played a big role in my life since I was little so he would always be a part of my life.
- It's funny that my favorite thing when I was little is no longer my favorite thing at all.
- Finding someone close to the perfect person is never as easy as you are led to believe when you're little.
- 1.2 [attributive] Denoting something, especially a place, that is the smaller or smallest of those so named or is named after a similar larger one: the village of Little ChestertonMore example sentences
- It'll also be named after London - Little London - and it'll also go out of business in a hurry.
- Whether you live in the suburbs or in the vital enclaves of a Little India, you are a part of America and American life.
- In 1929 the group broke away and moved into the Little Germany Theatre - then called the Civic.
- 1.4 [attributive] Of short distance or duration: stay for a little while we climbed up a little wayMore example sentences
- Some important Taliban buildings are set a little distance away from the civilian population.
- She was a little distance off, digging into her bag.
- The polar continental is usually a dry air mass, having little distance to travel over the sea.
- 1.5 [attributive] Relatively unimportant or trivial (often used ironically): we have a little problem I can’t remember every little detailMore example sentences
- But it will be nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the show without having to worry about every little detail.
- It looked like a normal house, but there were just so many little incidental details.
- Was it the big plot points that you wanted to reflect in your life or the mundane little details that you were going for?
determiner & pronounBack to top
- 1 (a little) A small amount of: [as determiner]: we got a little help from a training scheme [as pronoun]: you only see a little of what he can doMore example sentences
some, a small amount of, a bit of, a touch of, a soupçon of, a dash of, a taste of, a dab of, a spot of, a modicum of, a morsel of, a fragment of, a snippet of, a tinge of, a particle of, a jot of, a shade of, a suggestion of, a trace of, a hint of, a suspicion of; a dribble of, a splash of, a driblet of; a pinch of, a sprinkling of, a sprinkle of, a grain of, a speck of• informal a smidgen of, a tad of
- Sprinkle with a little of the leftover spring onions and serve immediately with extra cheese.
- Most of the stuff out there just doesn't pack the same punch that the old tunes do and we want to bring back a little of the old touch.
- Tourists and locals alike last night flocked to the pub to see if they could capture a little of the magic.
- 1.1 [pronoun] A short time or distance: after a little, the rain stopped
- 2Used to emphasize how small an amount is: [as determiner]: I have little doubt of their identity there was very little time to be lost [as pronoun]: he ate and drank very little the rouble is worth so little these daysMore example sentences
hardly any, not much, slight, small, scant, limited, restricted, modest, little or no, minimal, negligible; insufficient, inadequate
- However, the use of a variety of instruments does little to emphasize the indivisibility of rights.
- There is little doubt that these cases in particular have led to the numerous threats to her life.
- But he had little doubt about that side of the midfielder's game when he signed him in the summer.
adverb (less, least)Back to top
- 1 (a little) To a small extent: he reminded me a little of my parents I was always a little afraid of herMore example sentences
- One Moroccan girl said that she was a little afraid, since the murderer was a Moroccan.
- I must admit, I was still a little afraid of this world that was still new and foreign to me.
- I am a little afraid to ask what it is, but I do know I will not be eating much of this.
- 2Only to a small extent; not much or often (used for emphasis): he was little known in this country he had slept little these past weeksMore example sentences
- Whatever happened in the past, the biblical message is little known in those lands today.
- You need to get into the habit of drinking water little and often - before, during and after training.
- Here, too, he enjoyed little financial success but the publication went on to greater things.
- 2.1Hardly or not at all: little did he know what wheels he was putting into motionMore example sentences
- Yet this role is little noticed in the US and often incomprehensible to America's allies.
- Oh wait that's little different to being ruled by a mobster, and brutally murdered and repressed.
- They pointed out how little human nature has changed over the last thousand years.
- • archaic On a small scale; in miniature.More example sentences
- Her latest book is a nice example in little of her larger approach to writing.
little by little
- By degrees; gradually: little by little the money dried upMore example sentences
- Her face went slowly blank, little by little, and gradually her grip on his wrist lessened.
- Let her go to school and be with her at the beginning and then gradually fade away little by little.
- After that, I began to notice, little by little, this marvelous and mystical place where I have lived for years.
little or nothing
- Hardly anything: I can find little or nothing to fault in this bookMore example sentences
- Given that such treatment is typical, one can hardly blame players for saying little or nothing.
- The majority of organisms on Earth learn little or nothing during their individual lifetimes.
- For 25 minutes we were treated to a close, tight encounter with little or nothing to choose between the sides.
make little of
- Treat as unimportant: they made little of their royal connectionMore example sentences
- At the present, the U.S. government, while clinging to a sizeable hoard buried in Fort Knox, seeks to disparage it and make little of it as an unimportant metal.
- In the process of accomplishing economic development, we have been ignoring safety and making little of human lives on the grounds of saving money.
- I'd be mad to make little of a turnout of 10,000 people out of a population of 30,000.
- Considerable: a factor of no little importanceMore example sentences
- And what we lose is of no little importance to our students and to feminism.
- It is of obvious importance and of no little difficulty.
- With deft strokes (and no little humour), she switches characters with alacrity.
not a little
- A great deal (of); much: not a little consternation was causedMore example sentences
- Once you rent a site you have to adapt it to suit the kind of drama you're shooting and that involves a great deal of work and not a little cost.
- It will take a great deal of effort, and not a little imagination, to sustain the peace process and make it yield positive results until a durable reconciliation is reached.
- Put the bag somewhere safe, warn people away and call the authorities who will deal with the incident with little fuss and not a little gratitude.
- Very: it was not a little puzzlingMore example sentences
- For a week prior to Easter Sunday, Seville's famed Semana Santa processions trail evocatively, and sometimes not a little eerily, through the streets.
- I'm puzzled, a bit worried, and not a little peeved that this should be the case.
- Still he was smiling, if not a little painfully now.
quite a little
- A fairly large amount of: some spoke quite a little EnglishMore example sentences
- But there is too little here that is fresh and quite a little that sounds fanatical.
- The evidence is that there was quite a little diplomacy, aimed at coalition-forming for the largest purposes, throughout Asia at that time.
- P.S. I've done quite a little Christmas baking over the past few days and am hoping to do a post about them early next week.
- A considerable: it turned out to be quite a little bonanzaMore example sentences
- With deepest apologies, I think I will be taking quite a little while with updates at times, but then again, I might be able to pick up the pace (just for you guys).
- I haven't seen him this good in quite a little while.
- I have come to the conclusion that it is quite a little gem.
quite the little ——
- Used as a condescending or ironic recognition that someone has a particular quality or accomplishment: you’ve become quite the little horsewomanMore example sentences
- And the pharmacy clerks - it took no fewer than five of them to bring my drug deal to a conclusion; who knows how many it takes change a light bulb - are quite the little rays of sunshine, too.
- Their biggest asset is that, instead of just rehashing the same riffs, they actually prove to be quite the little tunesmiths and make the rawk memorable with some catchy choruses.
- He speaks perfect English and is quite the little gentlemen.
- More example sentences
- And when humanitarians allow themselves to be used, he feels, the whole sorry business of humanitarian intervention - already morally unsatisfying in its littleness and lateness - becomes more degenerate still.
- It is that sense of littleness that astrology configures so successfully, just as Delphi with its enigmas configures obscurity, of things in the future, in the past and indeed the present.
- Yes, their littleness, the little publicity that they receive, are a kind of defiance to the epoch in which all that counts is measured in big figures.
Old English lȳtel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch luttel, German dialect lützel.