Definition of little adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlɪtl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɪtl//
    [usually before noun]The forms littler /lɪtlə(r)/ and littlest /lɪtlɪst/ are rare. It is more common to use smaller and smallest. Youth
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  1. 1  not big; small; smaller than others a little house a little group of tourists a little old lady the classic little black dress ‘Which do you want?’ ‘I'll take the little one.’ She gave a little laugh. (British English) We should manage, with a little bit of luck. Here's a little something (= a small present) for your birthday.
  2. 2  used after an adjective to show affection or dislike, especially in a patronizing way (= one that suggests that you think you are better than somebody) 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. 3  young a little boy/girl my little brother/sister (= younger brother/sister) I lived in America when I was little. See related entries: Youth
  4. 4  (of distance or time) short A little while later the phone rang. Shall we walk a little way?
  5. 5  not important; not serious I can't remember every little detail. You soon get used to the little difficulties.
  6. Word Origin Old English lȳtel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch luttel, German dialect lützel.Extra examples He was a nasty little man. He’s still very little and doesn’t understand yet. It was a lovely little village before the war. Poor little thing! It’s broken its wing. The room was full of funny little animals. A little boy was standing on the doorstep. All those problems because of one little mistake! Here’s a little something for your birthday. I can’t remember every little detail. I give thanks for every little thing. I was a little bit afraid of him. It’s just one of life’s little mysteries. She wore a version of the classic little black dress. The system has some odd little quirks. They lived in a little house just down the valley. We had a little adventure yesterday. What a cute little baby! What a horrible little man! You wouldn’t expect a sweet little old lady to react like that. You’ll feel a little sting. You’ll soon get used to these little difficulties. a little error/​mistake/​defect/​problem/​argument/​accident/​incident/​adventure/​mystery/​quirk/​secretIdioms
    do wonders (for somebody/something)
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    to have a very good effect on somebody/something The news has done wonders for our morale.
    great/tall oaks from little acorns grow
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    (saying) something large and successful often begins in a very small way
    (informal) used to say that somebody told you something but you do not want to say who it was
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: little