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slight

[slahyt] /slaɪt/
adjective, slighter, slightest.
1.
small in amount, degree, etc.:
a slight increase; a slight odor.
2.
of little importance, influence, etc.; trivial:
a slight cut.
3.
slender or slim; not heavily built.
4.
frail; flimsy; delicate:
a slight fabric.
5.
of little substance or strength.
verb (used with object)
6.
to treat as of little importance.
7.
to treat (someone) with indifference; ignore, especially pointedly or contemptuously; snub:
to be slighted by society.
8.
to do negligently; scamp:
to slight one's studies.
noun
9.
an act or instance of slighting indifference or treatment:
Slights marred his work.
10.
a pointed and contemptuous discourtesy; affront:
She considered not being invited an unforgivable slight.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English (adj.) smooth, sleek, slender; compare Old English -sliht- in eorth-slihtes even with ground; cognate with German schlicht, Old Norse slēttr, Gothic slaihts smooth
Related forms
slighter, noun
slightly, adverb
slightness, noun
overslight, adjective
unslighted, adjective
Synonyms
2. insignificant, trifling, paltry. 3. See slender. 4. weak, feeble, fragile. 5. unsubstantial, inconsiderable. 6. disdain, scorn. Slight, disregard, neglect, overlook mean to pay no attention or too little attention to someone or something. To slight is to give only superficial attention to something important: to slight one's work. To disregard is to pay no attention to a person or thing: to disregard the rules; in some circumstances, to disregard may be admirable: to disregard a handicap. To neglect is to shirk paying sufficient attention to a person or thing: to neglect one's correspondence. To overlook is to fail to see someone or something (possibly because of carelessness): to overlook a bill that is due. 9. neglect, disregard, inattention; disdain, scorn. 10. See insult.
Antonyms
1. considerable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for slightest
  • Its dainty leaves tremble with the slightest breeze, creating a pleasant rustling sound.
  • The fine, upright foliage of taller deciduous kinds ripples in the slightest breeze.
  • What amazed me was how such a large animal could swim so close to me without my feeling the slightest water-movement.
  • Sensitive hairs and nerves on the back of the green grappler moth caterpillar detect the slightest touch of prey.
  • No-one can afford to make the slightest mistake now.
  • Even the slightest climate change affects seawater temperatures, ice cover, and the availability of food sources.
  • The ancient papyrus pages had been scattered into nearly a thousand fragments that crumbled at even the slightest touch.
  • Even the slightest movement affects the buckyballs, replicating atomic behavior.
  • Elephants can charge with the slightest provocation.
  • Given the slightest excuse, he cheerfully abandons his office ashore and takes to the nearest wheelhouse.
British Dictionary definitions for slightest

slight

/slaɪt/
adjective
1.
small in quantity or extent
2.
of small importance; trifling
3.
slim and delicate
4.
lacking in strength or substance
5.
(Southwest English, dialect) ill
verb (transitive)
6.
to show indifference or disregard for (someone); snub
7.
to treat as unimportant or trifling
8.
(US) to devote inadequate attention to (work, duties, etc)
noun
9.
an act or omission indicating supercilious neglect or indifference
Derived Forms
slightness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse slēttr smooth; related to Old High German slehtr, Gothic slaihts, Middle Dutch slecht simple
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 slightest

slight

adj.

early 14c., "flat, smooth; hairless," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse slettr "smooth, sleek," from Proto-Germanic *slikhtaz (cf. Old Saxon slicht; Low German slicht "smooth, plain common;" Old English -sliht "level," attested in eorðslihtes "level with the ground;" Old Frisian sliucht "smooth, slight," Middle Dutch sleht "even, plain," Old High German sleht, Gothic slaihts "smooth"), probably from a collateral form of PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)).

Sense evolution probably is from "smooth" (c.1300), to "slim, slender; of light texture," hence "not good or strong; insubstantial, trifling, inferior, insignificant" (early 14c.). Meaning "small in amount" is from 1520s. Sense of German cognate schlecht developed from "smooth, plain, simple" to "bad, mean, base," and as it did it was replaced in the original senses by schlicht, a back-formation from schlichten "to smooth, to plane," a derivative of schlecht in the old sense [Klein].

v.

c.1300, "make plain or smooth," from slight (adj.) Meaning "treat with indifference" (1590s) is from the adjective in sense of "having little worth." Related: Slighted; slighting.

n.

1550s, "small amount or weight," from slight (v.). Meaning "act of intentional neglect or ignoring out of displeasure or contempt" is from 1701, probably via 17c. phrase make a slight of (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with slightest
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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