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little

[lit-l] /ˈlɪt l/
adjective, littler or less or lesser, littlest or least.
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 preceded 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.
adverb, less, least.
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.
noun
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.
Idioms
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,
  1. belittle:
    to make little of one's troubles.
  2. 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.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English, Old English lȳtel (lȳt few, small + -el diminutive suffix), cognate with Dutch luttel, Old High German luzzil, Old Norse lītill
Related forms
littlish
[lit-l-ish, lit-lish] /ˈlɪt l ɪʃ, ˈlɪt lɪʃ/ (Show IPA),
adjective
littleness, noun
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for littles

little

/ˈlɪtəl/
determiner
1.
(often preceded by a)
  1. a small quantity, extent, or duration of the little hope there is left, very little milk
  2. (as pronoun) save a little for me
2.
not much little damage was done
3.
make little of, See make of (sense 3)
4.
not a little
  1. very
  2. a lot
5.
quite a little, a considerable amount
6.
think little of, to have a low opinion of
adjective
7.
of small or less than average size
8.
young a little boy, our little ones
9.
endearingly familiar; dear my husband's little ways
10.
contemptible, mean, or disagreeable your filthy little mind
11.
(of a region or district) resembling another country or town in miniature little Venice
12.
little game, a person's secret intention or business so that's his little game!
13.
no little, considerable
adverb
14.
(usually preceded by a) in a small amount; to a small extent or degree; not a lot to laugh a little
15.
(used preceding a verb) not at all, or hardly he little realized his fate
16.
not much or often we go there very little now
17.
little by little, by small degrees
Word Origin
Old English lӯtel; related to lӯr few, Old High German luzzil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for littles
little
O.E. lytel (related to lyt "little, few," from P.Gmc. *luti), from W.Gmc. *lutila- (cf. Du. luttel, O.H.G. luzzil, Ger. lützel, Goth. leitils), from PIE *leud- "small." "Often synonymous with small, but capable of emotional implications which small is not" [OED]. Phrase the little woman "wife" attested from 1795. Little people "the faeries" is from 1726; as "children," it is attested from 1752; as "ordinary people" it is attested from 1827. Little Neck clams (1884) are so called for Little Neck, Long Island, a "neck" of land on the island's North Shore. Little by little is from late 15c. (litylle be litille).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with littles
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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