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small talk

light conversation; chitchat.
Origin of small talk
banter, chatter, gossip.


[smawl-tawk] /ˈsmɔlˌtɔk/
verb (used without object)
to engage in or have a propensity for small talk.
1780-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for small-talk
Historical Examples
  • They had a gay time, for Mrs. Trent was very bright and chatty, and her husband had a fund of small-talk.

    A Little Girl in Old Pittsburg Amanda M. Douglas
  • A crisis was expected—but Lady Harriet's small-talk did not suffer.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • The Clubbers, truth to tell, were by now disposed to leave oratory and the uplift for small-talk and tea.

    V. V.'s Eyes Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • All his smiles and flow of small-talk had suddenly deserted him.

  • small-talk was forgotten, heads were craned forward, and all eyes were fixed upon the players.

  • George had met her once in the way of small-talk at her father's house.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
  • Many remedies were suggested, some no doubt well worth trying, others dealing too much maybe in small-talk of acids and alkalis.

    Two Suffolk Friends Francis Hindes Groome
  • Now, when the Captain found himself alone for a quarter of an hour with Alice, he had plenty of subjects for small-talk.

    Can You Forgive Her? Anthony Trollope
  • Fortunately too, when the interval came, she was full of small-talk.

  • small-talk, it seemed, was not an art cultivated in any great measure by the lower orders in the employment of Earl Dorm.

    The Man Upstairs P. G. Wodehouse
British Dictionary definitions for small-talk

small talk

light conversation for social occasions
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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Slang definitions & phrases for small-talk

small potatoes

noun phrase

  1. A trivial amount of money; chicken feed, peanuts: I received $120,000, which is no small potatoes
  2. An insignificant person, enterprise, etc: From the tuber is derived the term ''small potatoes,'' applied with more or less humor to anything mean or petty (1840+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with small-talk

small talk

Casual or trivial conversation, chitchat, as in We stood around making small talk until the guest of honor arrived. The small in this expression alludes to unimportant subjects of conversation, as opposed to serious or weighty ones. [ Mid-1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for small talk

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