American English

Definition of little adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [usually before noun]
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  1. 1The forms littler/lɪt̮lər/ and littlest/lɪt̮ləst/ are rare. It is more common to use smaller and smallest. not big; small; smaller than others a little house a little old lady the classic little black dress “Which do you want?” “I'll take the little one.” She gave a little laugh. Here's a little something (= a small present) for your birthday.
  2. 2used after an adjective to show affection or dislike, especially in a patronizing way (= one that suggests that you think you are better than someone) The poor little thing! It's lost its mother. What a nasty little man! She's a good little worker. He'd become quite the little gentleman.
  3. 3young a little boy/girl my little brother/sister (= younger brother/sister) I lived in an apartment when I was little.
  4. 4(of distance or time) short Alittle while later the phone rang. Let's walk a little way.
  5. 5not important; not serious I can't remember every little detail. You soon get used to the little difficulties.
    noun [uncountable]
  7. Idioms
    great/tall oaks from little acorns grow (saying)
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    something large and successful often begins in a very small way
    a little bird/birdie told me (informal)
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    used to say that someone told you something but you do not want to say who it was
    (it's) no/little/small wonder (that)…
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    it is not surprising It's no small wonder (that) she was so upset. (informal) No wonder you're tired, you've been walking for hours.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: little