Dictionary > Little


1. Small in size or extent; not big; diminutive; opposed to big or large; as, a little body; a little animal; a little piece of ground; a little hill; a little distance; a little child. He sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. (Luke xix. 3)
2. Short in duration; brief; as, a little sleep. Best him enough: after a little time, ill beat him too. (Shak)
3. Small in quantity or amount; not much; as, a little food; a little air or water. Conceited of their little wisdoms, and doting upon their own fancies. (Barrow)
4. Small in dignity, power, or importance; not great; insignificant; contemptible. When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes? (i sam. Xv. 17)
5. Small in force or efficiency; not strong; weak; slight; inconsiderable; as, little attention or exertion;little effort; little care or diligence. By sad experiment i know How little weight my words with thee can find. (Milton)
6. Small in extent of views or sympathies; narrow; shallow; contracted; mean; illiberal; ungenerous. The long-necked geese of the world that are ever hissing dispraise, Because their natures are little. (Tennyson) little chief.
The offices of prime, tierce, sext, and nones. Vespers and compline are sometimes included. Little ones, young children. The men, and the women, and the little ones. (Deut. Ii. 34)
Origin: The regular comparative of this word is wanting, its place being supplied by less, or, rarely, lesser. See Lesser. For the superlative least is used, the regular form, littlest, occurring very rarely, except in some of the english provinces, and occasionally in colloquial language. Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear. OE. Litel, lutel, as. Ltel, litel, lt; akin to os. Littil, D. Luttel, LG. Lutt, OHG. Luzzil, MHG. Lutzel; and perh. To as. Lytig deceitful, lot deceit, goth. Liuts deceitful, lutn to deceive; cf. Also Icel. Litill little, Sw. Liten, dan. Liden, lille, goth. Leitils, which appear to have a different root vowel.