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Language: Old English
Origin: lytel

little

1 adjective
     
lit‧tle1 S1 W1
1

size

[usually before noun] small in size:
a little house
a cake decorated with little flowers
She was cutting the meat up into little bits.
little tiny/tiny little spoken (=extremely small)
a little tiny puppy
a little something informal (=a small present, or a small amount of food)
I'd like to buy him a little something to thank him.
see usage note small1
2

something you like or dislike

[only before noun] used between an adjective and a noun to emphasize that you like or dislike something or someone, although they are not important, impressive etc:
It could be a nice little business.
a useful little gadget
It was another of her silly little jokes.
a boring little man
poor little thing (=used to show sympathy)
The poor little thing had hurt its wing.
3

a little bit

a) a small amount of something
a little bit of
With a little bit of luck we should finish by five o'clock.
I'm going to give you a little bit of advice.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself.
b) slightly or to a small degree:
I was a little bit disappointed.
4

time/distance

[only before noun] short in time or distance:
You could have a little sleep in the car.
We walked a little way along this path.
He arrived a little while ago.
5

young

little children are young:
We didn't have toys like this when I was little.
little boy/girl
two little boys playing in the street
somebody's little boy/girl (=someone's son or daughter who is still a child)
Mum, I'm 17 - I'm not your little girl any longer.
somebody's little brother/sister (=a younger brother or sister who is still a child)
Her little brother and sister were fighting again.
6

slight

[only before noun] done in a way that is not very noticeable:
a little smile
Nicolo gave a little nod of his head.
7

unimportant

[only before noun]
a) not important:
She gets very angry over little things.
There isn't time to discuss every little detail.
b) not important - used when you really think that something is important:
There's just that little matter of the £5000 you owe me.
8

(just) that little bit better/easier etc

better, easier etc by a small amount that will have an important effect:
Working fewer hours will make life just that little bit easier for me.
9

the little woman

old-fashioned someone's wife - often used humorously but now considered offensive by many women

➔ a little bird told me

at bird (4)
WORD FOCUS: young WORD FOCUS: young
other words meaning young: little/small used to describe young children, especially below the age of 6
teenage
used to describe someone who is between 13 and 19
adolescent
used to describe someone who is developing into an adult
youthful
looking young

a young person: kid informal a young person
teenager
someone who is between 13 and 19
youth
a man or boy between 15 and 25, especially one who is involved in fighting or crime
adolescent
a young person who is developing into an adult
minor
a young person who is not yet legally an adult

the time when someone is young: childhood the time when you are a child
youth
the time when you are no longer a child but you are still young
adolescence
the time when you develop into an adult


See also
young
WORD FOCUS: short WORD FOCUS: short
speech/piece of writing: brief, concise, condensed, abridged

person: not very tall, little, tiny, petite

time/event: brief, quick, momentary, fleeting, ephemeral, transient, passing, short-lived

legs/fingers: stumpy, stubby

clothes: skimpy


See also
short
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

small, little
Small is a very general word for talking about the size of something a small village a small man He had small brown eyes. The envelope was too small. Do you have this shirt in a smaller size?Little is used, especially in spoken English, to show how you feel about someone or something small, for example to show that you like them, dislike them, or feel sorry for them What lovely little cakes! her horrid little dog!! You can say 'smaller' or 'smallest', but do not say 'littler' or 'littlest' Her feet are even smaller (NOT littler/more little) than mine.!! You can use words like 'quite', 'very' and 'too' in front of small, but do not use them with little a very small car (NOT very little car)See also small

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